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Financial advice FAQs

Published October 2019

We answer your most commonly asked questions about financial advice.

1. What is financial advice?

Financial advice is the process of identifying your financial goals and creating a roadmap for you to achieve them. This covers your short-term and long-term financial objectives in an individual plan that suits your budget, lifestyle and end goals.

You might be trying to save for a house deposit or wedding, thinking about investing, or wondering how to make the most of your money before retirement. Or, you might already have a home loan or investment strategy in place and you’re looking to improve your current financial situation. Financial advice is all about helping you meet those targets.

2. What does a financial planner do?

A financial planner is a trained professional who creates a plan to achieve your goals. They will offer a big-picture view of your financial situation, your short-term and long-term financial goals, and what it will take to get from your present to the future life you want.

Strategies a financial planner might offer you could include consolidating your superannuation accounts or helping you to access it, preparing for your retirement, taking out insurance, reviewing your social security eligibility and/or investing

A financial planner will carry out the necessary research to tailor these solutions to your individual needs and goals, as well as ensuring that any recommended financial products are correctly implemented.

3. What's the difference between a financial planner and financial adviser?

There is no difference between the two. The terms ‘financial planner’ and ‘financial adviser’ refer to the same occupation and can be used interchangeably.

4. What are the qualifications of a financial planner?

When you’re figuring out how to choose a financial planner there are a few necessary qualifications and standards they must meet.

First of all, a financial planner should be listed on the Australian Securities and Investment Commission’s (ASIC) financial advisers register. They also cannot have been banned or disqualified from giving financial advice.

The Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority has laid out education requirements for new and existing financial planners.

  • New financial planners will need to have completed an approved bachelor degree or hold an equivalent qualification.
  • Existing financial planners will have to meet these new education requirements by January 2024. They’ll also need to sit an exam before January 2021 and comply with a new code of ethics for the industry from January 2020.

A financial planner needs to work for a financial-advice operation (this can be a small firm or a large bank) that holds an Australian Financial Services License from ASIC. You can verify this by asking to see their financial services guide.

You may also want to seek a financial planner who is a member of, or has been certified by a recognised organisation such as the Financial Planning Association of Australia.

5. How can a financial planner help me?

Whether you’re saving for a house deposit, looking to invest your money, preparing for retirement or thinking about how to protect what you have through insurance, a financial planner can help you in many ways.

They can provide professional, tailored advice on how to meet your financial goals through a financial plan. A good financial planner will be on top of the latest rule changes that affect you, and may suggest ideas, products or tools suitable for you.

Whatever your circumstances, a professionally devised plan for achieving your monetary goals can give you confidence that your financial future is under control.

If you’re looking for more information on personal financial advice you can check out ANZ’s financial advice learning centre.

6. When might you need a financial planner?

There are several situations and life stages where you might find a financial planner useful.

You might need assistance with your savings goals if you’re saving for something like a house deposit, wedding or baby. A planner will look at your lifestyle, budget and end goal to see where you can make adjustments to meet your savings target.

If you’re looking to invest, a financial planner can create a plan and provide ongoing support in the management and planning of those investments.

You could be interested in protecting your lifestyle or assets, a financial planner can help by formulating an insurance strategy to suit your needs and budget.

Financial planners can also plan for your retirement, show you how to pay off your home loan faster, refer you to experts for matters such as preparing a will, and reduce other debt. 

7.  How do you prepare for your first meeting?

Before your first meeting with a financial planner you should think about your financial goals – whether it be saving for something in particular, investing, purchasing insurance, planning for retirement, or anything else.

Write down or obtain documents that detail your current financial situation, such as your:

  • income
  • superannuation balance (and how much and how often contributions are made into your account)
  • investments
  • loans
  • insurance
  • assets
  • debts
  • day-to-day expenses (so the financial planner can assess how much you spend on things such as rent, bills, groceries, transport and other regular costs).

(You can use the ANZ budget planner calculator to check your day-to-day and other expenses.)

In your first appointment with a financial planner you’ll discuss and define your financial goals and costs associated with receiving personal financial advice. If you’re wondering what to ask your financial planner in your first appointment, questions include:

  • How will they keep you updated on the progress of your financial plan?
  • How they will assist in its implementation?
  • How are they paid?
  • What services can you expect to receive?
  • How much will it cost?

8. What happens after the first appointment?

After you’ve established your financial goals with your planner in your first appointment, they will assess your situation and come back to you with solutions. These might include financial-product recommendations to help you achieve your financial goals.

If you don’t feel that financial planning is right for you and your situation, you don’t need to do anything except let the financial planner know at the end of your first appointment.

9. How much does a financial planner cost?

Your first appointment with an ANZ financial planner is complimentary. After that, you’re not obligated to continue any further in the process.

If you do decide to continue, the costs associated with receiving financial advice (excluding product costs) will be explained during your first appointment with the financial planner. They’ll let you know which fees you can expect to pay and what services you’ll receive in return.

Different fees to be aware of include commissions, advice fees, implementation fees, those based on a proportion of your investment portfolio, service fees, and performance percentage fees.

At ANZ, your financial planner will be able to provide you with a quote of how much your advice will cost based on your needs and the complexity of your situation and how much it would cost to implement the recommendations if you accept the advice. This fee is only payable if you decide to have the advice implemented.

10. Is financial advice worth the investment?

If you want the advice of a trained professional to gain confidence in planning for your financial future, then seeking assistance from a financial planner can be worth the investment.

A financial planner will be across existing legislation and upcoming changes that affect your current wealth, investments, retirement plan and any other financial considerations. If your circumstances change, you can have your financial planner review and adapt your strategy to fit your new direction or life stage, such as planning for a big life event, approaching retirement or launching a business.

11. What should you do with the advice you get?

Your financial planner will be acting in your best interests, so following their advice can be hugely beneficial when it comes to achieving your financial goals. In saying that, you’re under no obligation to follow the advice of your financial planner; they’re simply making recommendations to improve your financial situation.

At ANZ there is no pressure to engage with a financial planner following your first complimentary appointment. You simply need to let them know at the end of the appointment.

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