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How can I find a good financial adviser?

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There are a number of important questions I really need to get sorted out and I suspect I need a financial adviser but I don’t know how to find and select one.

For example, I am 44 and my kids have left school and are pretty independent. My wife and I are teachers with pretty good super but I don’t know if we should pay off the home loan, bump up our super or buy an investment property.

I could guess after a bit of homework but I still could be missing something. Do you think I need an adviser and can you help me find one?

I do think you need an adviser and be prepared to pay between $3000 to $5000 for them, given your circumstances.

You should ask if the adviser is fee-for-service and this can be a bit confusing. Most advisers will charge you, say, one per cent on the funds involved but others, like my business, will simply charge a flat dollar fee. I recommend you say to your adviser that you want to know the charges in dollar terms, even if they charge percentage fees.

I like advisers with experience and ones that aren’t afraid to put you into property. Many advisers wont recommend property as historically they couldn’t make money off it and it couldn’t be added to their funds under management, which is used when they want to sell their business.

Personally I like to pay off a house because it’s tax-effective, but it works best if the owners are happy to sell the house when they need money in retirement. We have run computer modelling to see if clients should pay off their house or go hard with salary sacrifice and sometimes one option is better than the other and vice versa.

Finally, some people need ongoing service while others don’t – it depends on your changing circumstances and how you’re invested to build your wealth.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get great value out of an adviser but also don’t be too tight. It can be false economy to save on an adviser’s fee and end up not making as much money as you could because you invested badly or did not avail yourself of a rule or tax concession because you didn’t know anything about it!

For advice you can trust book a complimentary first appointment with Switzer Financial Services today.

Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

Published on: Friday, November 11, 2011

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