If you have decided you need the assistance of a financial planner and have satisfied yourself that the fees etc. are acceptable, you should prepare for your financial planning interview. The following is a guide to the information you may need to provide a financial planner at your interview. It also covers the types of questions you can expect to be asked by a financial planner and the types of issues you need to think about before the interview.
To receive a financial plan that suits you and which you can be comfortable with, it may be necessary to seek advice from more than one planner. When consulting more than one planner ensure you provide the same details (including lifestyle requirements) to each financial planner.
This will enable you to compare the SoAs prepared.
There are many providers competing for your money so remember to look for the products that are most suitable for you.
It is your money and the ultimate decision is yours
To assist your financial planner in making a worthwhile plan you need to give at least the following information:
- An idea of your basic living expenses (see NICRI’s Income & Expenditure sheet and/or the moneymap website)
- Details of your current income, including Government Income Support, superannuation payments, annuities and other income;
- A copy of your last tax return and Notice of Assessment;
- Details of all your loan facilities and investments, including bank, building society and credit union accounts and funds available for investment;
- If you have investments that are not available for re-allocation give full details about them;
- An idea of your planned expenditure, eg. money required for a holiday, new car, gifts, house maintenance etc.;
- An indication of the amount of investment risk you are willing to accept, if any (see NICRI’s Risk Meter);
- Insurance details such as life, Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD), income protection and general.
Refer to moneymap for tools that may assist with some of these items.
Remember to take the relevant documents to your interview, to ensure full and correct details are given. This should include details of any investments held by a partner or in trust if applicable.
The more accurate the information you provide, the more likely the planner can produce a plan that should meet your needs and objectives.
Remember this interview is for fact finding and you should not have to place investments at this stage. The only document you may need to sign is to confirm information provided is correct and request to prepare a SoA.
What Questions Might a Financial Planner Ask?
For a financial planner to give you the best possible advice they need to understand your aims and your current situation.
So as well as providing the basic particulars and documentation previously detailed, you could expect to be asked the following:
- Do you own your own home?
- Is there a home loan outstanding?
- Do you have any other loans?
- Is your home in good repair or does it require maintenance?
- Do you have dependant children?
- Do you require funds to cover any immediate expenses?
- What do you wish to achieve from a financial plan, ie. your lifestyle objectives? For example, a higher income, tax efficiency, increased pension entitlements, a secure and regular income etc.
- To whom do you wish to leave your possessions (estate) upon your death?
- Do you have a current Will and an Enduring Power of Attorney?
- Are you likely to receive any inheritances?
- Do you have adequate insurance on your home, contents, car and yourself?
- Would you accept fluctuations in the value of your investments for a long term gain ie. how much risk are you willing to take?
- Interviews may take longer than you expect. Allow enough time for the interview especially if travelling by public transport.
- If travelling by car, allow plenty of parking time for the interview.
- Having a valid and current Will is an important part of financial planning. A Will is a legal document which indicates how you wish to distribute your belongings after your death. If you do not leave a valid Will the law decides how to share out your belongings. Further information is available from your legal representative.
- A Power of Attorney, of which there are several forms, is a legal document that allows another person to act on your behalf to make sure essential matters are attended to when needed. The trusted person may be a family member, friend, legal representative, accountant or public trustee. Further information is available from your legal representative.
- An ideal situation is to remain debt free throughout retirement but this is not always possible.
- As some financial institutions do not lend money to pensioners, retaining credit cards or other arrangements, provided you can control spending and afford the costs, may be an advantage. Reverse mortgages are an alternative and are becoming more common with retirees and can provide access to money or create an income stream (more information here)
Take the following along to your initial interview with a financial planner.
- Details of your needs & objectives.
- Your basic cost of living expenses.
- Details of current income for you and your spouse:
- Government Income Support;
- employment income;
- income from other investments eg. bank accounts, annuities etc.
- Your last tax return & assessment.
- Details of current investments, particularly those that are not available for re-allocation.
- Details of all loan facilities.
- Insurance details.
Refer to moneymap for tools that may assist with these items.