What is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® Professional?
A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional has achieved the highest financial planning qualification worldwide and carries membership with the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa – Certified Financial Planners comply with a stringent set of eligibility criteria and are regularly tested by the international body that controls the designation they hold.
What are the benefits of financial planning?
Having a detailed financial plan provides you with a strategy to make practical financial decisions in all aspects of your life. Following and sticking to a plan allows you the best possible chance of success in achieving your life goals and long-term financial security.
Financial planning can for instance help you to prepare for:
- Buying a car;
- Furthering your education;
- Buying a house;
- Children; and
What do I need to ask at the initial meeting with a financial planner?
The introductory meeting is your opportunity to make sure that you feel comfortable with the financial planner’s professional credentials, and that you get on well.
A sure sign of a good financial planner is that they don’t rush you; they carefully listen to you and clearly explain where they can add value.
What sort of advice do you need?
The advice you seek can be holistic (which takes into account your full financial situation, needs and goals) or scaled (where you only seek advice for particular purposes).
Scaled advice means that you could see a financial planner for a particular purpose that is most relevant to you at any point in time – without the need to go through a holistic process that takes your full financial situation into account.
While scaled advice can make financial planning more affordable, it’s important to not lose sight of the bigger picture. This is where a professional financial planner can help you to take a step back and review your financial situation holistically.
How much does financial planning cost?
By law all financial planners must disclose all forms of payment and fees. The cost to you will depend on the complexity of your financial situation and plan, as well as the fee method the planner uses.
There are various ways to structure fees, and it typically starts with an initial fee to cover identifying your needs, developing a strategy and implementing the recommendations. There could also be administration and ongoing service fees for regular reviews of your plan to ensure it meets your changing circumstances.
How do I select a financial planner?
It is essential to choose carefully. Choose someone you personally like and that you will be able to trust. You will have to be open and honest with them about intimate aspects of your life, so having an adviser you are comfortable and at ease with is very important.
It is a good idea to shop around and compare two or three different advisers before making your decision. Asking plenty of questions will assist with your decision-making.
Which events will trigger the review of my financial plan?
- Your first job. The most important resolution you can make when starting a new career is to make it your goal to understand the crucial part investments play in every aspect of your life and every decision you make.
- Marriage. Of all events, this is going to make the biggest impact on your financial plan. Shared commitment is shared responsibility.
- Children. If you have planned for them and notched this into your financial plan, well done, but if not, you will have to do some hasty revisions and see your financial advisor in double-quick time!
- Illness. Apart from general medical insurance, you should also build health insurance into your financial plan.
- Divorce. While you can’t exactly plan for this, you should keep a good eye on your investments as well your emotional investment in your marriage, and schedule regular, annual review meetings with your financial advisor.
- Losing your job. Everyone should keep this possibility in mind seeing as circumstances change constantly; companies close and jobs become redundant in the advance of new technology.
- Parental death. When one elderly parent dies, you may be left with the other who has a limited income.
- Retirement. Before you hang up your hat, you will need to visit your advisor, because now you have to put in place pensions and investment funds.
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