Top 5 questions to ask a financial planner30 May 2023 5 min read
5 questions to ask your financial planner
Have you ever considered speaking with a financial planner? Working with a financial planner can be a great way to review your finances, make any necessary adjustments and set financial goals. The process might be daunting for some, but it doesn’t have to be. With a few key questions up your sleeve, you can enter the discussions feeling prepared and get the most out of the experience. 5 questions to ask your financial planner:
1. What’s your experience?
In Australia, financial planners must be authorised to provide financial product advice under an Australian Financial Services licence (AFS licence) issued by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). You will be able to find a financial planner’s details, including details of their experience, on ASIC’s financial advisers register. If the person from whom you intend to seek financial planning advice is not on the register, they are not licensed to provide you with financial planning advice.
Before working with a financial planner, ask about their experience and accreditation. If you want to focus on a particular part of your finances, such as superannuation or debt, ask about their experience in those areas.
2. What are the costs of working with a financial planner?
Types of payment structures
Get clear on the costs from the outset. Not all financial planners charge in the same way. For example, one financial planner may charge a fixed rate for their services, whereas another financial planner may charge based on an hourly rate or percentage-based fees on any advised assets. Percentage-based fees are when a financial planner charges a percentage on the total value of your portfolio.
Most financial planners these days will charge on a fee-for-service basis to provide personalised financial advice to you, so it is important to be clear as to what the cost will be before entering into an agreement to receive any advice.
To ensure you are clear on and comfortable with all fees associated with the financial planner you are engaging with, ask for all costs upfront in dollar amounts (rather than a percentage, so you understand the final fees.)
NGS Super members can book a complimentary appointment with a financial planner, where you can get to know each other and discuss your goals. There is no obligation to continue after the initial meeting.
3. How will we be working together?
Ask your financial planner what the process will involve, how often you will be in communication, and what communication format will be used. Will you meet in person? Are there options to meet on Microsoft Teams or Zoom (or a similar video conferencing platform)? You will also want to know how follow-up communication will occur. Will there be emails? Printed copies of documents? Understanding the process and communication style can determine if you are the right match.
4. What information will I need for our first session?
Once you agree to work with a financial planner, they will gather information about your financial situation in your first session, as well as talk to you about your objectives, financial situation and needs. Before you have that meeting, ask what you will need so you can gather any relevant reports, statements and documents before the meeting and make the best use of time.
5. How do you measure success?
A good financial planner wants you to succeed. Whether you work together briefly or over a long period, there should be an objective that the financial planner keeps track of. Without a measure of success, discussions can occur without results. Find out how they will measure success and how that will be reported back to you.
Not ready to speak to a financial planner? Why not try the e-Advice tool?
NGS Super members now have access to an easy-to-use e-Advice tool. Login to the member portal to access the tool. You will be able to:
- Access recommendations within minutes without waiting for an appointment with a phone adviser.
- Receive advice on your super and/or pension accounts within the plan at no additional charge.
- Receive a Statement of Advice within minutes of completing your journey.
- Login and access the e-Advice tool
Start your journey with NGS Super
If you feel ready to review your finances, why not connect with one of our NGS Super Specialists?
Whether at the start of your career journey, approaching retirement or anywhere in between, our Super Specialists are here to help. It’s free, and they can answer your questions about superannuation, investments, insurance or transition to retirement. They can also help you decide the next steps – including if meeting with an NGS financial planner is right for you.
Our financial planners can create strategies that aim to maximise your financial position and meet your objectives for the future. Financial advice can also involve protecting your lifestyle and assets through personal insurance and looking at what happens to your super when you die and the impact on your loved ones receiving your super.
Seeking advice is a way to plan for your future, help to mitigate the risk and make the most of your saving opportunities. Education is integral to the planning process — it’s important that you feel confident and informed at all times.