Seek professional advice
DURING my 30 years in the financial planning industry, I've noticed many Australians do not pay enough attention to their financial future. Part of the problem is they don't know where to go for advice, who to trust, or what questions to ask.
The need for more people to seek professional advice, and the worrying statistics about the financial wellbeing (or lack thereof) of most Australians is highlighted in The Investment Trends November 2011 Retirement Income Report.
The report states that while 45% of older Australians are concerned about not being able to maintain a reasonable standard of living, nearly 50% of Australians interviewed had made absolutely no financial preparation for getting older. That in itself is alarming, especially when those interviewed admitted they preferred not to think about their financial futures at all.
This is the challenge for the financial planning industry - convincing Australians it is imperative they seek financial advice and in doing so, make a positive difference to their financial futures.
This week marks the start of Financial Planning Week within Australia. An initiative of the Financial Planning Association, the annual event's objective is to heighten awareness of the benefits provided by sound financial advice. This is an ideal time for you to start thinking about seeking financial advice, or to review your current situation if you have previously spoken to a financial adviser.
If you don't have an adviser, I strongly recommend you contact a member of the Financial Planning Association. FPA members have higher standards of experience and qualifications than required by law, plus a commitment to the FPA Code of Ethics that puts client interests first and exemplifies best practice.
The earlier you seek professional financial advice, the better your chances of avoiding financial stress. If you're already in a good financial situation, professional advice will
give you the opportunity of improving your position even further.
Noel Whittaker is the author of Making Money Made Simple and numerous other books on personal finance. His advice is general in nature and readers should seek their own professional advice before making any financial decisions. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.