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What is Financial Planning?

Achieving Financial Goals

Whilst no one can precisely predict the future, by having a roadmap and a way to manage your finances, it is likely that you will notice that you are getting closer to your financial goals.  Through the services offered by Australian Financial Practitioners you may see yourself paying less tax, reducing your debt faster or building up your assets to a level that will allow you to get closer to your financial and life goals.  By having greater transparency and control over your finances, you will be able to react to the world as things constantly change and take advantage of opportunities that may come your way to a greater extent than you ever have before.

Perhaps the most salient benefit of using Australian Financial Practitioners is that you will have peace of mind that you are doing all you can to ensure that your future is looking as bright and prosperous as it possibly could be.

Prior to deciding whether to appoint Australian Financial Practitioners we suggest an initial consultation to discover your needs and answer questions you have on any financial subject. The consultation can be held at our office, at your place or via our Skype Video conferencing facility. We usually do not charge a fee for the initial consultation, it is provided to you without any obligation to proceed with us.

At the initial consultation we will also map out what services would be best suited to meeting your needs and provide you with a quote for our service; Scenario Analysis, Financial Advice, Portfolio Management or Wealth Coaching. After your initial consultation you can either continue into your first session or take more time to think about it.

If you do decide to proceed, we use a tested and structured process. For instance, should you select our Financial Advice service, our most popular offer, we embark on the following six step process to help you get from where you are now, to where you want to be.

Step One - understanding your needs

To make relevant recommendations on your financial future, your Financial Practitioner will work with you to build an accurate picture of your overall financial situation, your financial objectives and needs, and the advice areas which need to be addressed to help meet your needs.

At this time the fee we quoted during our initial consultation will become the fixed price fee for our Financial Advice service and therefore, you know exactly what the total costs are prior to proceeding to the next step.

Step Two - identifying your goals

A vital part of the Financial Advice process is identifying your goals and objectives so you clearly understand what you're working towards, in the short, medium and long-term. Some examples you could consider are:

  • future education expenses
  • upgrading the family home
  • improving household cashflow
  • protecting your income
  • lowering your income tax liability
  • taking greater control over your financial destiny
  • estate planning: writing a will and appointing a power of attorney
  • accumulating financial assets to achieve a defined financial goal(s)
  • maintaining your lifestyle against inflation rises, etc

Step Three - identifying financial obstacles

Your Financial Practitioner will compare your current financial situation with your goals and identify any shortfalls between where you are now and where you want to be, together with the steps necessary to overcome them.

Step Four – preparing our advice

Having identified your goals and objectives and assessed your financial situation, your Financial Practitioner will formulate an overall strategy. If this involves investing, central to the strategy will be your ‘risk profile’ – it is your attitude to risk that will principally determine the investment options that the practitioner recommends for you. 

Your Financial Advice will be provided in a written report known as a Statement of Advice or Financial Plan. The written report encompasses clearly identified recommendations relating to your goals and objectives. It will also recommend any actions necessary to remove obstacles, for example, in capital or income.

Step Five - implementing your financial plan

Once you are happy with the recommendations contained in the financial plan developed with your Financial Practitioner, he or she can implement it on your behalf or assist you through the process. This may involve completion of all necessary documentation required to get your plan ‘under way’.

Step Six - reviewing your financial plan

The preparation and implementation of your financial plan is the starting point of the journey towards achieving your financial goals. To ensure your plan stays on track and relevant to your changing lifestyle, it should be reviewed at least semi-annually.

During the review process it may be likely that adjustments will need to be made to your overall plan. These changes are often caused by changing personal circumstances, domestic and international market conditions, fiscal and monetary policies of government, shifts in your risk/ reward perception, etc.

To help you review your financial plan, we offer a ‘low cost’ and convenient Portfolio Management service.

The Top Eight Misconceptions about having a Financial Practitioner

1. I don't have enough money to make it worth using a Financial Practitioner

This is an understandable misconception, however, advisers such as those with Australian Financial Practitioners can prepare a Scenario Analysis for you at minimum costs. You will then have a road map that you can use to guide you through your life decisions. 
Even a contribution of $100 per pay to a superannuation fund should be done with the correct investments and should match your financial goals. 

2. I don't have any money to spare

It is amazing how our Wealth Coaching service can actually uncover ways to allocate your current expenses in a better manner for you without you having to come up with any additional money. In short, to benefit from Australian Financial Practitioners you don’t necessarily need to have assets but an income.

3. I'm in my 30's/40's so don't need to think about retirement yet

Since retirement is such an important aspect of everyone's future, planning for it can never start too soon. Money has a way of growing when left untouched so the sooner you start investing the less in total you will have had to put away, leaving money to spend now also. Investing in vehicles such as superannuation will reduce the taxes you pay.

Also financial planning is not just about preparing for retirement, it includes saving for the children, estate planning, financing an investment property and all the other things you want to do while you are working. In actual fact, our Financial Advice service can cover every aspect of your lifestyle to determine how best to identify and remove obstacles to achieving your financial goals.

4. I know how to invest myself

This is probably true of many people, however, as with anything if you give this to a professional to manage, they can do a more comprehensive job. The right professional will take the time to know you and formulate the best strategy for you. This doesn't mean you have to give up your involvement but means you can take a look at the whole picture and leave the details to someone else. Our Portfolio Management service does just that for you.

5. I don't trust other people with my money

As with anything you do in your life, you need to establish a basis of trust with your Financial Practitioner before you start investing. Australian Financial Practitioners build on long term relationships and our practitioners are in it for the long run with you. Once you have trust in us, you will find their ability to manage the details while keeping the bigger picture in view will pay off for you.

To give you further comfort, Australian Financial Practitioners works within salient Safeguards.

6. I don't have enough time to meet with a Financial Practitioner

A little time invested with our Financial Practitioner can free you up from having to worry about your investment decisions and also reduce the stress level that this type of decision can cause. You may even find you have time freed up because you don't have to spend as much time on your own finances.

At Australian Financial Practitioners we have taken this one step further and introduced Skype Video conferencing service for all our clients so that you don’t  need to leave the comfort of your home or office to speak ‘face to face’ with your Financial Practitioner.

7. I know more than my Financial Practitioner does about my finances

You of course know more about your own finances, however, our Financial Practitioners know more about the options available to you for putting these finances to the best use possible. Bringing a Financial Practitioner onto your personal finance team will expand your knowledge and give you more opportunities than you can create on your own.

We are confident that in partnering with Australian Financial Practitioners will not only be rewarding but also a unique experience for you.

8. I always deal with my accountant

An accountant will always help you with your taxation and investment. In this regard, many accountants are essentially looking after you from a ‘historical’ perspective.

What Financial Practitioners do, however, is help you make the right investment and then meet with you, on a regular basis during the forthcoming year to review any changes to financial or lifestyle goals, how the financial plan has progressed, and what new obstacles to achieving your goals may arise in the near future. Financial Practitioners are essentially looking after you from a ’future’ perspective.

It is very rare for one professional to be able to do both, historical and future, at the highest level of expertise. You will need both, a good accountant and a good Financial Practitioner.

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