Unlocking a Secure Retirement: Your Guide to Choosing a Real Financial Planner

Imagine this: You’ve worked diligently your entire life, saving and planning for your golden years. You’ve heard the promises of financial freedom, comfortable retirements, and sunsets on the beach.

But as you stand on the brink of retirement, you realise that not all financial advisers are what they seem.

They may wear the title of “financial adviser” proudly. They might even have impressive designations after their names. But beneath the surface, some are not your trusted guides to financial security.

Instead, they are product peddlers, focused on selling you financial products, charging exorbitant fees, and leaving you with more questions than answers.

You might be wondering, “Aren’t you a financial adviser too?

Well, my friend, let me clarify, I’m not just any financial adviser. I’m a Real Financial Planner, and my mission is to protect you from the pitfalls of bad advice.

In this post, we’ll cover some of the warning signs that can help you avoid a disastrous financial planning experience.

We’ll share real-life examples of common pitfalls and guide you on what to look for when choosing a financial planner who truly has your best interests at heart.

Because when it comes to retirement, clarity is your best ally, and a trustworthy financial planner can be your bridge to a secure and fulfilling retirement.

Example #1 Beware of Product Centric Planner

Here’s where you’ll encounter financial planners who seem more interested in their products and investments than your retirement.

They’ll urge you to shift your hard-earned super into their proprietary products, promising returns that could inflate your retirement balance by six figures or more.

But before you are swayed by such promises, here’s a reality check: Past returns are no crystal ball for the future. It’s both unrealistic and, frankly, irresponsible.

In every case I’ve seen, these advisers fail to answer the fundamental questions relating to one’s retirement:

  • Are you on track for a comfortable retirement lifestyle?
  • Are you confident about your retirement outlook?
  • Do you have a clear vision for your retirement lifestyle?
  • Will I be okay?

Sadly, after reading documents given to these people, the answer is no, nope and nada…

What you receive is a recommendation to enter into complex, costly products you’ve had no say in. This only benefits the adviser and their company much more than they benefit you.

In the end, you’re left with lingering doubts about your retirement security.

Example #2 Beware the Investment-Only Adviser

If you’ve worked with an adviser, you’re probably aware that investments are part of the equation. However, there are advisers out there whose laser focus on investments neglects the other critical aspects of your retirement. Like your overall lifestyle and building in safety margins.

I recently worked with a client named Jan who had similar past experiences. She had worked with a financial adviser before, but she felt something was missing.

In her own words, “He was only interested in my investments.

When I asked Jan about her previous adviser, she explained, “He provided investment advice but didn’t offer much reassurance about my retirement as a whole.

Jan approached us with caution, understandingly, given her past experiences. She was seeking clarity around her retirement and wanted advice that explored all her options and addressed her concerns.

As we guided Jan through her retirement possibilities, gaps, and potential paths, she remarked. “This is what I’ve been looking for.  I haven’t seen anything like this before.

So, here’s a piece of advice: If an adviser is fixated on investments and money management in your initial meetings while overlooking your broader retirement goals. It’s time to politely disengage and continue your search.

Unlocking the Value of Good Advice

It’s true that the financial advisory landscape has its share of disappointing advisers, but there are also exceptional ones who can be your guiding light in your journey towards retirement.

A top-tier adviser will do more than just provide investment advice. They’ll be your guide in navigating the complexities of retirement. Ensuring that you can enjoy life without the constant fear of running out of money.

Research conducted by Colonial First State highlights the stark contrast between those who have received financial advice and those that haven’t.

Three quarters of those without advice express concerns about their financial future, which isn’t surprising given today’s volatile economy and intricate retirement landscape.

The Vanguard Value Of Advice Research reaffirms the power of good advice. Vanguard estimates that advisers can add up to 2.5% of your assets in value. Primarily by helping avoid common pitfalls.

In essence, a significant portion of this value comes from sidestepping costly mistakes.

Recently I spoke with a couple who hadn’t sought advice. Letting their emotion drive their decision to switch into more conservative investments in the middle of Covid.

A quick calculation, and we worked out that this has cost them a cool $200k over the last couple of years. Undressed, this will spiral out to $775k approx over the next 20 years.

This serves as a stark reminder of the potential pitfalls of navigating retirement without expert guidance.

What to Look for When Choosing a Financial Planner?

#1 Trust Your Instincts

First and foremost, your gut feeling matters. You should feel at ease with the financial planner you choose. A skilled financial planner will invest time in comprehending your values and priorities.

#2 Look for a Framework

A top-notch planner should have a well-established framework for constructing your retirement roadmap.

Click here to see ours

#3 A “Life First” Philosophy

Seek advisers whose approach revolves around your life, not just your money. Every financial planner decision should contribute to enhancing your life. Whether it involves accumulating more experiences and memories or increasing your confidence to live life.

#4 Transparency is Key

Transparency is non-negotiable. A credible planner won’t sugarcoat the facts.

They’ll provide you with a realistic view, including the good, the bad, and the ugly.

If You’re Nearing Retirement at Crossroads…

If you’re approaching retirement…

#1 Ideal Plan

Before diving into financial planning, super and investments, we start by understanding your current life stage and your vision for retirement. This initial step will subsequently highlight your financial requirements for retirement.

#2 Preliminary Assessment

With your essential information in hand, we create a long-term cash flow forecast to evaluate the feasibility of your current path.

This step highlights what you need to plan for, opportunities, risks and hidden gaps you’re not currently aware of.

You are presented with this assessment to gain your thoughts and input prior to crafting your retirement roadmap to incorporate relevant changes.

#3 Crafting Your Retirement Roadmap

Notedly, we haven’t mentioned financial products or investments yet. This is intentional. Until we define your goals, it’s challenging to determine your financial needs and products (if you need them at all).

You have the option to take it away and implement yourself if you want. Alternatively, if it makes sense we can assist by implementing your plan for you and be there to guide you along your retirement journey.

#4 Retirement GPS

Life is unpredictable with many twists and turns. Even the best-laid plans can change.

We work with you to stay on course, avoid costly mistakes and help you align your money with what’s most important to you.

Ultimately, there’s no point accumulating wealth if, at the end of your journey, you’re left with regrets. Retirement should be a time of fulfilment and contentment, not a source of anxiety.

Struggling to work out if you’re on track for a comfortable retirement. Wondering when you’ll be in a position to retire and if you’ll be okay. If you’re looking to go from confusion and uncertainty to clarity and confidence about your retirement;

Book your Retirement Clarity Call by clicking here…

Glenn Doherty – CFP – Financial Planner | Retirement Planning Made Simple for aspiring grey nomads and avid travellers within 7 years of retirement 

We work with people in Adelaide and around Australia via virtual meetings!

Request a Retirement Clarity Call

An opportunity to talk through some of your challenges and questions you have around your retirement.

Achieve some clarity and maybe a roadmap on how you can achieve a comfortable retirement.

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Advice Disclaimer: Any reference in this publication to the provision of advice refers to advice of a generic nature, and should not be taken as product or investment recommendations. Before any action is taken based on the information provided, independent financial advice from a licensed financial adviser should be sought. Financial Freedom Project Pty Ltd ATF GA & DC Doherty Family Trust Trading as Jigsaw Private Wealth is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Exelsuper Advice Pty Ltd. The information contained in this publication is of a factual nature only and is not intended to constitute financial product advice. Information is current as at date of publication. This is an online information blog. It does not imply an offering of securities.

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