Sometimes the best way to explain something is by telling a story.
The day has arrived. You made the appointment a few weeks ago, sent Greg (the financial adviser) some preliminary information, then waited.
You’re nervous. You’re not really sure what to expect and the last thing you want to do is spend more than you planned. You’ve been very clear about what you can afford. You hope Greg has listened.
It’s the first meeting. Greg explains the normal process. He clarifies with you what your needs are. He’s assisted quite a few clients to achieve the same goals. He’s confident he can help.
Greg uses most of the meeting to help you identify your short and long term goals. It’s interesting – you’d never noticed how they were intertwined. He covers off some of the main points about your financial position and ensures you’re comfortable with his process. Greg then presents a quote for the cost of developing your financial plan, called a Statement of Advice (SoA). It’s $3000.
$3000. You’re not sure. It seems like a lot of money. You spent less on a new TV last year, and you use that every day. It’s a third of what you spent on renovating the bathroom, but you use that every day too. But you’re not sure how else you’re going to achieve what you want to achieve without a specialist to tell you how. Putting $5 notes away isn’t going to cut it.
You ring Greg. You accept the SoA. Greg suggests you come back in four weeks from now.
It’s now four weeks later. Time has flown, and yet it hasn’t. You’re excited to see what Greg has planned for you. Nervous too.
You take a seat. Greg hands you the plan. It’s comprehensive. He’s spent a lot of time of this. You feel better.
He runs through four of the strategies he’s identified that will deliver some short and longer term wins. There’s some immediate changes you can make, and he’s told you he’s going to make sure you commit to them. You promise him to complete the checklist within six weeks.
That was 12 months ago. A few things have changed since you first met Greg. Some of the goals have already been achieved, which have led to setting new goals. You caught up six months ago (which cost 3x his hourly rate) and you’re both going to review and update the SoA next month.
It’s been a worthwhile process. He hasn’t pushed you into anything you weren’t comfortable with, and he’s made sure you’ve been comfortable with charges for additional time and work from him. You’ve also had a really good story to tell at a few parties this year! Everyone is interested in financial advice, but most of your friends don’t know how to find an adviser, or what they need to know beforehand.
This is what you tell them:
- They need to understand their stage of life, and how this is going to impact their financial objectives.
- They need to be willing to invest about $3000. It’s a scary proposition but you tell them what your outcome was.
- It will cost them more money if they want their financial adviser to hold their hand. You were happy implementing a lot yourself, so only really paid for a catch up six months later.
- They need to understand what success looks like to them. All the goals are not going to be achieved in 12 months.
- If they want something simpler they can opt for General Advice, which doesn’t take their personal circumstances into account, and thus costs less. Greg gave you Personal Advice, which made more sense to you.
- You were worried about being pushed into buying products that you didn’t understand, and weren’t comfortable with. Greg was an independent adviser and not aligned with a bank or other financial institution. He did recommend some products that he said he’s found to be some of the best on the market, but he was upfront about this and made it clear it was your choice to use them.
Overall, you’re looking forward to a long term relationship with Greg. You do recommend him to your friends and family but suggest to them at the same time that they should find someone who specialises in achieving their goals, which aren’t necessarily the same as yours.
Hopefully this story has helped demystify what financial advisers do, and more importantly, what the process of seeking and receiving advice entails. If you have any questions feel free to contact us. Or take the plunge and reach out to a financial adviser.
MyNextAdvice is a good place to start the hunt.