Good news! There's no 'stupid' question!
I was approached recently to assist women feel a little more in control when
approaching a financial adviser and what questions NOT to ask so as to not look
I confess to being a little taken aback. I have yet to hear a 'stupid question'
from a client. If you don't know the answer, it makes sense to ask a professional,
and no-one should ever make you feel uncomfortable about asking a question you'd
like the answer to.
A financial adviser needs to be someone you form a bond with professionally,
trust, and feel comfortable enough with to help you take control of your financial
I thought instead it may be more appropriate to help put together some questions
that you SHOULD ask a planner and help empower women (or anyone for that matter)
to feel they're getting value from the relationship.
Has the Financial Adviser Got the Goods?
So, some things you should know first:
* Deal only with a licensed advisory firm - you can usually check out credentials
on the firms' website, then cross check with ASIC and/or the FPA
- each Adviser needs an ASIC number to prove they're licensed and be part of
an Australian Financial Services Licensee and many are members of a professional
* the first document you receive should be an FSG - or Financial Services Guide
which outlines your adviser's qualifications & history, who they are licensed
with, services available to you, how they charge, and how to make complaints
if you're ever dissatisfied
* take the time to interview up to three or even more Advisers to find someone
you're personally compatible with. You need to trust this person with your finances
- it's a pretty big step to take!
* if you've found someone who suits, make sure you're getting what you see
as value for money - what services will you receive for your fees and do you
see value in the offering?
What Do You Want from a Financial Adviser?
Some questions to ponder before you go, are:
* What do you want to achieve from the partnership?
* Has the Adviser been in a similar position to yourself in life stages or
do they deal with a lot of people in circumstances such as yourself?
* What is it going to cost? How flexible are their charging options and does
it fit your situation and budget?
* Are you happy for this person to help you make important financial decisions?
* Are they interested in what is important to you - your goals and priorities?
* Can you 'sleep at night' with the recommendations? Or are you overly concerned
about the consequences? Is there an exit strategy or cooling off period available?
* Do you have a specific query such as redundancy or an inheritance, superannuation
and retirement planning, insurance protection or just want a general hand with
* Is this to be a one-off transaction or do you require an ongoing relationship
with this person whenever you require answers to queries?
Unless you're seeing an old misogynist dinosaur, most advisers know that women
fill an important role in the household, whether single, partnered or as part
of a family unit, and are very influential in the decision making processes.
Their concerns are legitimate and fears real and need addressing.
Please don't ever accept being made to feel small, but take charge of the relationship.
Great tools are also available via the Financial
Planning Association's website www.fpa.asn.au
if you'd like to do more research before you head out and find the planner who
will help you take charge.