In this post, Jenny Simmonds and Belinda Woolrych discuss what great financial planners do and their differences from accountants.
A good financial planner will really understand the situation, they get to understand you, your goals and your needs that are specific to yourself. It’s not a cookie cutter, cut out process, they really try to understand what’s important. So yes, that takes a bit of a process. It also takes a bit of trust building too and often people when you ask them what’s important to you, have no idea so they need to ask. Where do you want to go? Where do you see yourself and what new hobbies are you looking at and how that’s going to translate into financial goals? It can be quite daunting so they need to make sure downsizers feel comfortable being asked questions and that no question is a silly question. I often find people can be sometimes cautious to ask questions because it’s not an area that they’re familiar with. It’s just making sure that your financial planner makes you feel really comfortable to be able to partner with you, it’s not really meant to be a dominant relationship, it’s meant to be a partnership where we are more like a coach, so that you feel as though you can ask any questions and that you’re working together to achieve your goals.
Financial planning is a relatively new profession, it’s a profession that has had its ups and downs. I’m hoping that it’s now heading towards being a more recognised profession. As such, with some of the more recent changes post Royal Commission etc, it’s evolving. There is more of a distinction between accountants and financial planners now, even as of a few years ago accountants are now not able to do financial planning advice unless they’ve met certain education requirements. There are some accountants out there who have got those, but most don’t. Accountant’s roles are looking at the financial tax and legal side of your situation, whereas the financial advising does have to be registered tax as well but not specific. It’s more holistic, it’s more coaching, it’s strategy and works on the longevity of your funds and investment markets.
Financial Planners and Accountants are a very different relationship. Accountants often do tax returns and are able to advise on tax law but they won’t go so far as to meeting you regarding setting your goals and what holidays you have planned and also then delving into your estate planning to see what sort of goals you have for life. Financial Planners make sure everything is set up for you to meet those goals – its more about a nurturing relationship and a coaching relationship. Financial Planners would see you more often than an accountant, and especially these types of triggers. These trigger points along the way are, for example; when you go to retire from work and you’re moving your finances, receiving inheritances and downsizing – you need to have had conversations leading up to it, and over that period of time, prior to sale, buy based on assumptions and estimates etc etc.
In summary, you do need an accountant and a financial planner.
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