I was recently asked by my son “what do you do for your clients dad?” I rattled off my elevator speech about my core belief that “I put people back in control of their finances and empower them to plan for a brighter future.” He looked at me as if I had two heads and said “yeah but what do you actually do?” Well that hit me like a brick and I realised that many people do not know what I actually do as a Professional Financial Planner. No not just a Financial Planner but a professional who lives and breathes his work and is building a business around the clients he takes care of and not around the amount of funds under management.
When I sat down with my business partner, Michael Rambaldini, and our team and we looked at what we have done for clients over the last few decades. We split the role in to 5 parts:
- The financial plan designer who deals with the big picture of your goals and dreams and strategies to achieve them from a financial perspective. As part of this we help get back control by ensuring you are more organised.
- The investment strategist who chooses how to build wealth to fund those objectives. We bring that third party view to help you avoid emotionally driven investment.
- The insurance adviser who makes sense of the options available and make an assessment of the needs of the family in terms of risk management and protecting the family’s financial future.
- The tax consultant (often with an accountant) to minimise the leakage from those returns.
- The relationship builder – someone who earns your trust, becomes your financial coach and guides you through your financial journey with confidence. We deal with many clients so understand the changes in lifestyle and monetary needs as you age.
Now to actually show how that is done and the actual services provided I have made some lists and while not exhaustive they encompass 99% of what I can do for my clients.
A Professional Financial Planner:
- Guides you to think about areas of your financial life you may not have considered.
- Formalises your goals and puts them in writing.
- Helps you prioritise your financial opportunities.
- Helps you determine realistic benchmarks.
- Makes you accountable for your own strategies through regular reviews.
- Studies possible alternatives that could meet your goals.
- Helps you work out your best Salary Sacrifice strategy
- Prepares a “big picture” financial plan called a Statement of Advice for you. This should be a reference document for the detailed strategy.
- Suggests creative alternatives that you may not have considered including the best way to maximise Centrelink benefits.
- Assists you in setting up a Superannuation plan and maybe even an SMSF when the time is right.
- Reviews your children’s educational cost funding strategy.
- Provides reminders about updates to key financial planning data.
- Checks with you before the end of the year to identify any last minute financial planning needs.
- Guides you on ways to fund health care and other lump sum expenses in retirement.
- Assists in preparing an estate plan for you.
- Cares more about you and your money than anyone who doesn’t share your last name.
A PERSONAL FINANCIAL COACH:
- Monitors changes in your life, career and family situation.
- Proactively keeps in touch with you with news and ideas, educating you along the way.
- Serves as a human glossary of financial terms such as alpha, P/E ratio, and franking credits.
- Provides referrals to other professionals, such as accountants, auditors and lawyers.
- Shares the experience of dozens of his clients who have also faced circumstances similar to yours. (I’m Irish so I love a story to relay a solution)
- Helps with the continuity of your family’s financial plan through generations.
- Keeps you on track with reviews to achieve your objectives.
- Identifies your savings shortfalls and strategies to plug the gap.
- Develops and monitors a strategy for debt reduction.
- Is a wise sounding board for ideas you are considering.
- I provide the necessary resources to facilitate your decisions, and explaining the opportunities and risks associated with each option.
- Provides “the sleep factor” so you are not stressed about money
- Is there for your spouse and family should anything happen to you.
- Is honest with you, always, even when it means saying NO!
AN INVESTMENT STRATEGIST:
- Prepares an asset allocation for you so you can achieve the best rate of return for a given level of risk tolerance.
- Stays up to date on changes in the investment world.
- Monitors your investments.
- Reviews your investments in your company superannuation plans.
- Reviews the costs of your existing plan to ensure it is value for money
- Helps transition your investments from Accumulation phase to providing a retirement income.
- Refers you to mortgage broker for loan and debt financing.
- Suggests alternative strategies to increase your income during retirement.
- Researches and keeps records of your cost basis on shares and property
- Provides you with reliable investment research and often differing views from a range of sources.
- Provides you with personal investment analysis.
- Determines the risk level of your existing portfolio.
- Helps you consolidate and simplify your superannuation and investments.
- Can provide you with technical, fundamental, and quantitative investment analysis.
- Provides introductions to new investment opportunities.
- Shows you how to access your statements and other information online.
AN INSURANCE ADVISER:
- Reviews and recommends life, TPD, Trauma and Income Protection insurance policies to protect your family.
- Advises on the best structure in terms of within or outside of superannuation to hold the policies
- Advises on which entity should own these policies to achieve the desired outcome in the event of a claim.
- Looks at Keyman and Business Expenses Insurance for professional and small business clients.
- Holding your hand or if the worst happens, your family’s hand while we process a claim with you in the event of illness, injury or death.
A TAX CONSULTANT (within the limits of my licence):
- Suggests alternatives to lower your taxes during retirement.
- Reviews your tax returns with an eye to possible savings in the future.
- Stays up to-date on tax law changes.
- Helps you reduce your current taxes.
- Helps you determine and fund your desired income in retirement and minimum pension payments.
- Re-positions investments to take full advantage of tax law provisions.
- Facilitates the transfer of investments from individual names to trust(s), or from an owner through to beneficiaries.
- Works with your main tax and legal advisers to help you meet your financial goals.
I can’t live your life for you but I can smooth the way!
Are you looking to build that sort of relationship? Do you want a professional advisor that will take the time to build that trusted relationship with you. One that will keep you up to date and provide guidance and tips? Then why now contact us at our Castle Hill or Windsor offices in Northwest Sydney to arrange a one on one consultation.
Liam Shorte – Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Adviser