If you run a small business then you know it’s exhausting. Most small business owners don’t have enough time to eat lunch let alone plan their financial future, or deal with money issues that can sneak up when they’re not watching. Cash flow is a primary source of stress for small business owners, and often your personal financial situation suffers for the sake of your business. This is why it’s a good idea to consider seeking financial advice from an expert.
One of the key tasks in business is to help secure yourself financially, both now and when you retire. Given the average lifespan is now some 20 years after the official age of retirement those who plan to call it quits by 65 must ensure they have a sufficient nest egg to see themselves through for many more years.
If you run a successful business then chances are the value in that business will be a key part of your retirement funding. The more profitable and successful the business the more value it will have when you come to sell. How do you plan to sell it when you need to? Are you allocating a portion of your profits each year towards investments that can sustain you when you retire? Have you reviewed your business expenses recently to determine what costs can be cut? If you don’t have answers to these questions, then it may be time to employ a financial adviser.
A good financial adviser can help you manage your personal financial needs in conjunction with your business’ cash flow. They can provide advice on growth opportunities, asset management and decisions to expand, and they can also help you with personal finances and investing for your financial future.
What questions should you ask someone you are considering hiring as a financial adviser?
- Are you certified? Financial advisers in Australia must hold an Australian Financial Services license and meet certain standards before they can act for others.
- Who are your other clients? Can they provide testimonials from others who have used their services? What do their current customers think of them and how long have they acted for these clients? Do they work with other small business owners?
- Do you specialise in certain areas? You need to find a financial adviser who specialises in the area of financial advice you need help with. This could be superannuation, retirement planning, investments, cash flow management, risk identification and protection. It’s important to understand what they can offer and ensure it aligns with what you’re seeking.
- Are you independent? About 65% of Australia’s financial advisers are aligned with the ‘Big 4’, and this association means they tend to recommend products and services from within these banks. Guidelines introduced in 2015 mean that advisers must show proof that they have acted in the best interests of the client – you – and not in the best interests of their employer or association. If you’re concerned it’s a good idea to find an adviser who considers themselves independent.
- What’s your working style? We all enjoy working with someone we like and trust. While advisers can offer simple advice, the most rewarding relationship is a long term one, so make sure you get a good ‘feel’ from them. Most advisers will be happy to meet you for an initial discussion, and will understand the importance of a strong bond, so if you’re not ‘feeling it’ with the first adviser you meet, find someone else.
- Do they understand what you do? While it’s not necessary, if your adviser has a good understanding of your business then it’s likely they’ll be more in tune to your objectives and aware of opportunities and risks you should consider.
Hiring a financial adviser is not decision to be made lightly. You are choosing a trusted partner to help manage your personal finances. Make sure you choose someone who understands your needs and has the experience and specialist knowledge you require.
If you’re a small business owner and need help to make sure your business health doesn’t impact your personal wealth, you’re best to speak to a professional. A financial adviser (or planner) spends their days identifying and presenting opportunities to their clients. Our simple, quick, free service will connect you to the best independent financial advisers, based on your needs. Click here to get started.
The information in this article is general in nature and does not take into consideration your personal situation or circumstances. You should consider whether the information contained in this article is suitable to your needs and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser or other finance professional.