Get your Free Financial Fitness score and personalised report

Finding about financial planners: A short guide

Whether you're hoping to build wealth, save enough for retirement or need guidance around tax, insurance and investments, you need the services of a financial planning professional. A financial planner can provide you with quality, expert insight into all this and more. 

There's only one problem: You don't know what a financial planner actually is. Allow us to explain the basics. 

What is a financial planner?

A financial planner is a qualified professional whose services revolve around helping you manage your finances to meet your life goals and providing you with guidance around complex financial issues. From helping you figure out a budget for your household to giving you direction in where and how to invest, a financial planner's role spans a wide variety of responsibilities. 

Aren't financial planners just for wealthy people?

Contrary to popular belief, the services of a financial planner can help out just about anyone. Your level of assets, savings and general wealth isn't a defining issue – financial planning is simply about making what you do have work most effectively for your life plans. 

Is visiting a financial planner once enough?

Of course you can benefit from a single visit to a financial planner, similar to how seeing a medical professional can give you the information you need to cure your ills. However, much like a doctor, the true benefit of a financial planner comes in forming a long-term relationship with them. This way they can come to understand your financial situation and goals, and give you guidance for how to manage the former and fulfil the latter. 

How much does it cost?

Like any other service, financial planners charge commissions and fees for their help. They may get a commission on the insurance you set up, as well as charge fees for a statement of advice and ongoing management fees. These may differ from planner to planner, so it's worth asking each individual you deal with for what they charge. 

It's worth noting that, as of July 1 2014, investment products can no longer pay in-built commissions, so you won't be charged for any successful investments you make.