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The Role of a Financial Planner

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Last editedJuly 20212 min read

From launching a new business venture to protecting your assets, financial planning keeps all your monetary goals on track. A financial planner has the proper training and experience to help you make the most of your funds. Here’s what to expect when you consult with a certified financial planner.

What is financial planning?

Financial planning should be at the heart of any decisions you make, both in business and personal finance. To understand what a financial planner does, it’s helpful to define what sort of goals fit into a financial plan.

A financial planner can help you with:

  • Choosing the right insurance to protect your home and business

  • Diversify your investment portfolio

  • Selecting the most worthwhile investment strategies

  • Setting short and long-term financial goals

  • Planning for retirement

  • Planning and consolidating your superannuation fund

  • Managing your mortgage

  • Creating a fiscally sound estate plan

What does a financial planner do?

Financial planners not only must have an in-depth knowledge of investment strategies and finance, they must also provide expert customer service. When you meet with a financial planner for the first time, part of their role is to ask the right questions to really understand your needs. To this end, you can expect to sit down for an in-depth consultation.

A financial planner will asks you questions about:

  • Your business goals

  • Your current financial situation

  • Any insurance policies you might have

  • Future expenses you plan to finance

  • Lifestyle and family goals for retirement

By asking these questions, financial planners get into the heart of what their clients want and choose the best investment solutions. They can give you investment strategies, ways to diversify your portfolio, and how to best structure your business. They’ll also offer advice about managing your cash flows and protect your income.

Some financial planners have specialist certifications in areas like investing or tax management. Others are well-placed to offer general advice.

How to become a financial planner

Are you wondering how to become a financial planner yourself? There are some minimum requirements to get started in this field:

  1. Complete the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) 7 Bachelor’s degree

  2. Complete one professional year of supervised experience

  3. Pass the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) exam

For the professional year of experience, you must complete at least 1600 hours of supervised work with an AFS licensee, including a minimum of 100 training hours. During this time, you’ll work on the following areas of expertise to carry out financial planning duties:

  • Technical competence

  • Regulatory competence

  • Client care

  • Consumer protection and ethics

It’s also helpful to keep these qualifications in mind if you’re seeking the services of a chartered financial planner. Be sure that they have the proper certifications for the role.

Difference between financial planner and financial adviser

If you’re shopping around for financial advice, you’ll probably see both financial advisers and financial planners listed.

A financial planner is a specific type of adviser focusing on meeting long-term goals. You’ll find chartered financial planners who are qualified to help with analysis and consulting, as well as certified financial planners who can assist with taxation. As a result, financial planners might come from a variety of backgrounds provided they meet the professional requirements we’ve listed above.

By contrast, financial advisers can include any professionals who assist with money management. This is a wider group that includes stockbrokers, money managers, and estate agents as well as financial planners.

The bottom line

Financial planners can help you set and achieve goals with a practical plan. The first step is to make an appointment with a financial planning firm to see what type of advice they can provide for you. Should you take it forward, a financial planner will prepare personalised strategies to follow, helping you manage your money over time.

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