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Questions to Ask Your Financial Adviser

What questions can you ask a financial adviser to help ensure you get advice that suits your interests and not theirs? 

There are some great checklists available to help you choose a financial adviser, especially if you have no idea where to start.  But, most focus on basic questions such as experience, professional membership and the services they offer.

While these are helpful as a starting point, they don’t get to the heart of what determines the quality of the advice and service your financial adviser provides.

I think there are a few additional questions you can ask to help ensure you get great advice and support.

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Photo Credit: Eric Flexyourhead via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Eric Flexyourhead

Update (June 2016):

Over 11,000 people have read this article, after searching for information on financial advice fees. If you’re like them, and think you’re overpaying for financial advice (or about to), call me on 1300 369 045 or email contact@justinbrand.com.au – and get a second opinion. 

At some point over the next year, you may receive a Fee Disclosure Statement from your financial planner.  If you know what to look for, this statement will help you work out if your financial adviser is worth their money.

As a part of Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reforms, all financial planners who charge an ongoing fee for their service must give their clients a Fee Disclosure Statement (let’s call it an FDS).  That’s for any advice fee your planner charges you on an ongoing basis, beyond 12 months.

This law is supposed to ensure you are told what you’ve paid for ongoing services and list what services you actually received.

But, the Fee Disclosure Statement is very basic.  You need to ask additional questions to ensure you are not wasting your hard earned money on support that doesn’t benefit you, doesn’t suit your needs or is simply overpriced.

The FDS will give you key information for the preceding 12 months:

  •    Fees you have paid for ongoing service
  •    Ongoing service you should have received
  •    Ongoing service you did receive

So lets look at each section.

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Get Financially Savvy with these Free Financial Blogs

Beyond gaining the knowledge to make better day-to-day financial decisions, teaching yourself to be more financially savvy will make it far less likely that you will get ripped off or make an error costing you tens of thousands of dollars.

And you don’t have to read a tonne of books or study a diploma.  Fortunately, there is an excellent source of free information on the net in the form of blogs and financial websites that provide regular advice and tips.

If you are not familiar with modern blogs, don’t dismiss the idea because you think the content is only written by amateurs.  Many of the best financial commentators provide their thoughts and insight via their own blogs. There are also newspaper and magazine websites with financial sections that produce great content aimed at the everyday Australian.

And you only need 15 minutes a week.  Join the email list of 2-3 blogs that you feel speak to your values or meet a gap in your current knowledge.  Then simply leave time each week to review any updates.

There are several benefits of reading financial blogs and websites.

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