Have you got a financial plan? Our CFO Greg Taylor continues his look at the importance of having one. He takes you through a checklist of what a good planner should do for you.
Last week we looked at why getting a financial plan together is so important. Hands up if you acted on it? Well done if you did. It is not too late if you didn’t.
Let’s look at what a financial planner should do for you. It can serve as a checklist for you.
The planner should explain the steps that they will take when they work with you. Before you go too far it is important that you ask them about their experience and how they charge. Many financial planners offer a no obligation initial free consultation where you can cover this.
Next, they will help you to work out your long and short term financial goals. Are you saving for a house, expecting children, looking to retire. You may get a checklist to fill out before you come. If your planner is offering products before asking you about your specific goals you are not getting proper, tailored advice.
It is great to have goals and a desired lifestyle but can you afford them? The planner will look at your financial position so make sure you know your assets (what you own) and your liabilities (loans and other debt), what insurances you have and your tax strategies.
They will then give you a recommended plan. Under new laws they should not be getting commission from the owners of any financial product that they are suggesting you use. These laws don’t become compulsory until July 2013 so it is best to ask your planner if they are being paid any commissions.
You will then need to put your plan into action. You may need help from your accountant or solicitor too. Budget for these costs.
Financial planning is not a one off exercise. Your circumstances and goals will change so make a time to regularly review the plan. Your planner will usually do this for you.
At The Greater Building Society we offer financial planning services with our partner Bridges. Right now we are offering people the chance to win a $5,000 investment. All you have to do is have a FREE, no-obligation financial planning consultation, booked through The Greater, before March 31, 2013. You don’t have to be a customer of The Greater.
This post is adapted from Greg Taylor’s weekly Business Finance Column in the Newcastle Post newspaper.
Please ask any questions about financial planning or make a comment below.