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Where to find good financial advice and info

Published: 13 May 2022
  • national
  • 13 May 2022
  • National Seniors Australia

Services Australia, which includes Centrelink has a range of free financial support services and their latest addition to their service offering are free webinars (live interactive videos hosted over the web) that will provide financial planning information.

Financial planning webinars

The webinars, which are part of Services Australia’s Financial Information Service, cover topics including retirement, aged care, retrenchment, understanding money, and disability and carers.

You can send questions during a live webinar and have these answered by an expert.

The webinars are available to all members of the community. You can either book and join a live webinar or watch a past session at a time and place convenient to you.

Find out more and book a webinar session here.

Government Financial Information Service

Along with webinars, the Government Financial Information Service provides a range of other services to help older people to make informed decisions about their finances.

Some of the areas they can assist with include:

Increasing your confidence with financial matters like investment, salary sacrifice and superannuation.

Understanding your own financial affairs and options.

Understanding financial planners and how to use their advice.

How to use credit sensibly and the benefit of reducing debt.

Saving and planning for the future through investing and the risks of certain financial products.

Planning for your retirement and increasing your overall retirement income.

Understanding what happens when you move into aged care.

Understanding government payments and how a change in your circumstances may affect your entitlements.

How to find resources to help you with financial matters and how a range of government and community services can help.

You can learn more about the service in this video or speak with one of their Financial Information Service officers via one of the methods outlined here.

National Seniors Financial Literacy Service

National Seniors members can also access up-to-date independent information on retirement options, Centrelink benefits, aged care, superannuation, estate planning, investment choices and more through our Financial Literacy Service.

The Financial Literacy Service is an independent, confidential service funded by National Seniors Australia and Caxton Legal that aims to improve the investment information available to older Australians including:

  • Centrelink questions, clarification, and suggested benefits

  • COVID-19 payments

  • Home Equity Access Scheme, and other ways to access equity in the home (reverse mortgages)

  • Superannuation and super insurance

  • Defined benefits and super taxation

  • Downsizing

  • Selling the family home

  • Moving into aged cared

  • Estate planning.

Find out more

Paid financial advice and what to look for

While the Government Financial Information Service can provide information to help you better understand topics, they cannot provide financial or investment advice.

If you’re looking for financial or investment advice, you may want to consider getting a qualified financial adviser.

A good financial adviser works with you to understand your needs, set your financial goals, and create a plan to help you achieve them.

Anyone who gives personal financial advice and most general advice providers must have an Australian financial services (AFS) licence.

Decide what you want from financial advice

Before you get financial advice, decide what you want to get out of it. This depends on your stage of life, how much money you have, and what you're trying to achieve. A financial adviser can help you make financial decisions and plan for the future. This might include advice about budgeting, investing, super, retirement planning, estate planning, insurance, and taxation.

Choose the right financial advice for you

You can choose to get either general or personal financial advice from an adviser, depending on what you need.

  • General financial advice doesn't take into account your personal situation or goals, or how it might affect you personally.

  • Personal financial advice is tailored to your financial situation and goals, and is in your best interests.

It can include:

  • Simple, single-issue advice: Help with one financial issue, for example, how much to contribute to your super, or what to do if you inherit shares.

  • Comprehensive financial advice: Help to develop a financial plan to reach your financial goals. This covers things like savings, investments, insurance, super, and retirement planning.

  • Ongoing advice: Regular monitoring and review of your financial plan and affairs.

To find out more about what financial advisers can do for you, see working with a financial adviser.

Finding a financial adviser

Once you know what you want, you can find a licensed financial adviser who offers the right services for you through:

  • A financial advice professional association

  • Your super fund

  • Your lender or financial institution

  • Recommendations from people you know

  • Search by postcode on Services Australia’s Financial Advisers Register to find a licensed adviser near you.

Financial Services Guide

The best way to see what a financial adviser offers is to read their Financial Services Guide (FSG). It should be on their website, or you can ask them for a copy.

The Financial Services Guide shows:

The services they offer · How they charge (see financial advice costs)

Who owns the company

Any links to product providers

Their AFS licence number.

Meet and compare financial advisers

Ask the financial adviser if they charge for the first meeting. Many don’t.

When you meet an adviser, ask them about:

  • Their qualifications, main client base, and specialty areas · What fees you will pay, how often and what you'll get in return

  • How they'll manage your money

  • How often you'll meet

  • What information you'll receive and how often

  • How they'll consult you on decisions

  • How they'll monitor and manage your investments

  • What commissions or incentives they receive from financial products, and how they'll choose products to recommend to you

  • Who'll look after your account when they're away · How they'll deal with complaints (see problems with a financial adviser to learn about the complaints process)

  • How to end your agreement with them (including any penalties or notice periods).

A good adviser will get to know you, keep you informed, and help you achieve your goals. They'll also discuss how much risk you're comfortable with.