Who did you recently have coffee with and how fruitful was your conversation? Let me share with you my recent coffee date with a friend indeed.
Her name is Tracey we met in 2011 she is the kind of friend that tells it like it is, the kind of friend that will share with you wealth of information and make you feel really in charge of your life by simply making the smallest decisions. She is a very important friend to me, well, that’s because she is my Liberty Financial Adviser (FA). Note the emphasis on “friend”! Let me start by breaking a few stereotypes about having a financial adviser, myths that that I too used to be clouded by.
TRUST NO ONE WITH YOUR MONEY
1 in 5 South Africans would appreciate the input of a financial adviser, they just don’t trust them enough to pursue this relationship – I was a hot mess when I met Tracey, I was buying my first property, had a new car, moving jobs and planning for my wedding, just imagine lol.. It only took one consultation and she had cleaned things up for me and made me feel so much at ease knowing that I had atleast financially planned for life uncertainties.
ITS TOO EXPENSIVE
Research reveals that 22% of respondents without FA’s believe that they are too expensive – I was already making big financial decisions at age 24 and had no intentions to limit my financial freedom especially at that age because life must be lived haha.. lets face this, the issue of cost is a real concern for many. However, a financial plan and solutions are always tailored to the individual’s needs and I was able to choose just what I needed for my age and could afford at the time.
I WORK HARD FOR MY MONEY, I DON’T NEED A FINANCIAL ADVISER
19% of respondents believe that FA’s wont add value to their lives – I used to think financial planning is easy and can be managed alone, however there are so many pertinent things that my professional FA knows that I had no clue about. Tracey has helped me navigate my finances as I journey through life, including building wealth throughout different life stages. Staying financially disciplined is not that easy especially being a mother to a girl there is just too much cuteness everywhere. Attaining and achieving financial goals and aspirations requires co-ordination and collaboration. I honestly cant imagine life without a FA now especially during these strained economic days of Mzansi.
WHAT I LEARNT FROM MY FINANCIAL ADVISER
I like things broken down in layman’s terms and I’m the kind that will make you repeat something more than twice until I really get it, this becomes far much worse when we are talking finances. Here are the 3 main things I learnt from FA which also helps me file my records accordingly at home.
I noticed that what I own and what I owe can be lost in translation very easily once we get comfortable. By breaking my asserts and liabilities I am able to project a clear monthly budget while maintaining a comfortable lifestyle for my family and I. This obviously lactates but knowing that i have paid for my debts and saved some money before I can spend remains a constant habit throughout.
Insurance and Investments
What came as a shock with this category was the fact that some of the financial products, policies and investment plans that we have covered under our employers may be close to nothing in a real life situation, my FA and I did a thorough comparison on items like retirement annuity, death & disability, pension & provident fund, educational plan, funeral cover etc. it was simple exercise and now we only review as and when we see fit to balance my financial, age and health status.
When we discussed investments I was intrigued by the variety of options offered (unit trust, shares,lump-sum and offshore investments..) just to name a few. While my husband was interested in long term investments , I cared more about the accessibility of the funds ”in case of emergency”, needless to say I don’t have to keep emergency funds in my bank account because there is always an emergency with us women in malls and when ESCAPES call we have to answer right?! Not keeping emergency funds in my account showed a great improvement in my savings.
Last Will and Testament
Uncomfortable but very crucial category, no one really wants to think about death but it’s part of life and must be planned for just like all other part of our lives. We laughed so hard at how easy it is for Tracey to just say “when you die”because she is so used such topics. But yes, when we die we do not want to leave any confusion nor burden for our loved ones to deal with on top of grieving us. I used to think that you have to have a lot of money to be able to have at solid Will, did you know that even your own clothing and handbags can be stated in your Will? What picked my brains majorly and needed atleast a day or two before I could ink it down was choosing a guardian for my daughter when both my husband and I, but that’s a topic for another day. A Will costed me only R14 at a stationery retailer, we updated it and handed it in to our FA.
There is absolutely no excuse why we shouldn’t have such guidance as part of our lives especially as parents who are trying to raise kids that don’t have to recover from their childhood. Consumers with FA’s are mostly men between the ages of 35 and 44 years old. I say as mothers let us be break the stereotype of being only emotional care givers but also intentional bright future planners not only for our kids but thousands of generations to come.
SMART QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR FINANCIAL ADVISER
To equip you for your first consultation or strength your relationship with your current FA there are some questions that outweigh the rest. These include the following:
What are their certifications or credentials? – This question is to ascertain if he or she is a registered Certified Financial Planner or even better whether they are a fiduciary, which means they have your best interests at heart when it comes to making investment and risk recommendations.
How do you charge for your services? – This question is broader and better then saying how do I pay you? Its important to understand all areas of your financial planner’s compensation, if you don’t ask there maybe potential hidden fees.
May I see a copy of a sample financial plan? – All financial plans differ according to individuals. What you are trying to see here is how brief or in-depth the analysis is that your FA will conduct.
What type of clients do you specialize in and what makes your client experience unique? – With this question you are asking and why do I want to work with you? Here the planner should give you a mandate or his customer value proposition.
What are your measurements for success? – This is a key question because a strong planner will measure success based on how well your plan is progressing against the goals you have laid out and he/she has set up. They will also measure against your age, risk, inflation, benchmarks selected based on your time horizon.
How much contact do you have with clients and will I be working with just you or a team? – Again based on their response you can gauge the level of attention, contact you can have with the adviser, and how often you will review your plan together. Remember at the very beginning you need to establish a relationship together hence you may meet more frequently until trust is establish.
What happens in the event I become incapacitated? – Even if you can manage your own finances, there will come a time when you aren’t around, either through passing or becoming unable to. A good financial planner will help you with proper estate planning and ways to protect your assets.
Lastly in terms of your succession plan, if something had to happen to you what plans do you have in place to assure my needs are met? – Here we are talking about business continuity; to ensure that your financial goals/plans continue uninterrupted should anything happen to your financial adviser.
NOW LET’S CELEBRATE!!!
IN CELEBRATION OF THIS“FINANCIAL PLANNING MONTH” I’M GIVING AWAY A 1000 WOOLWORTHS VOUCHER , SIMPLY TELL US WHY YOU THINK HAVING A FINANCIAL ADVISER IS IMPORTANT, DO YOU HAVE ONE Y/N?
Competition closes on Friday, 19 October 2018. The winner will be announced on Sunday, 21 October 2018.
Sponsored by: Liberty Group SA