What do you do??
I have had a couple of my friends recently ask me ‘What is it that you actually do? I know you are a financial adviser, but what exactly does that mean?’ And I’m guessing that if a couple of friends are asking that question then many more of the general public are also wondering. So here it is – in a nutshell.
Firstly, what I cannot do is predict the future. I don’t have a crystal ball and can’t give you the winning lotto numbers. If it was that simple I probably wouldn’t be writing this blog but sitting somewhere exotic sipping cocktails and being fanned by a manservant. What I can do though is give clients an informed opinion of the general market conditions and the economic outlook. I do copious amounts of reading and research – I am a bit of a nerd – don’t let my glasses fool you!
The most important part of my job is understanding my clients and determining what their goals are. And this could be anything from I want to go on an overseas holiday in 2 years time, to I want to have ‘X’ amount of dollars in super by the time I retire. No 2 people are the same when it comes to goals and their financial achievements – sometimes even husband and wife don’t have the same goals (that can become a very interesting meeting indeed!). Once I have this information (together with a lot of other number info like household budget, current super fund info, insurances etc) I work on strategy to help my clients achieve what it is that they want. Now sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I can’t get it to work and we need to sit down and revisit the goals or look for things that need to be changed in the client’s life and lifestyle to get to where they want to be.
When I am devising strategy (cue Mutley laugh he he he) I have a look at everything in a client’s financial life – household budget, spending patterns, saving patterns, dependents, current insurances, investments they already have, debt levels, savings capacity, superannuation balances, estate planning issues, how much you want to leave to the kids on your death (the trend at the moment seems to be none!), health, marital status, present income, hoped for future income and the list goes on. I also profile each client for their appetite to risk. This profiling gives me an insight into how comfortable a client is with risk. And everyone is different again. By completing this profile, I am able to recommend a mix of investment assets (superannuation included) to best meet a client’s goals.
My strategy recommendations are then presented in a comprehensive document which becomes a client’s roadmap to achieving their financial and life goals! A Gregory’s of financial life if you will (or should that be Google Maps now??). We all know that plans change. So it is extremely important that I review my client’s plan at least on an annual basis. That way, if there has been a change to their circumstances, or even a change in goals, we can make adjustments to the plan.
One thing I do need to stress is that it doesn’t matter if at the moment you are living week to week and think that there is nothing a financial adviser can do for you – there is help available. Even if it is to make sure you have adequate insurance for the unforeseen, or to make sure that your super (which we now all have thank you Mr Keating) is allocated in your fund to achieve your retirement dream.
The Money Edge | Bundaberg