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Making the Right Choices as an SMSF Trustee

With over 40 years combined experience in the financial services industry, we have been providing advice on self managed superannuation funds (SMSF’s) to Perth area investors since self management of superannuation funds became an option in late 1999.

Recently, our parent company, AMP Capital, conducted research on what SMSF trustees considered to be the most difficult part of managing an SMSF. The research was conducted by Investment Trends.*

Right Choices As SMSF Trustee

Poll Results:*

Most Difficult Task:*

27%: Investment selection.
24%: Keeping track of SMSF rule and regulation changes.
23%: Administration and paperwork.
19%: Finding enough time to conduct investment research.

Other Questions:*

76%: Made at least one new investment with their SMSF in the previous twelve months.
35%: Made from 2-5 investment changes in the previous twelve months.
16%: Made between 6-10 changes in the previous twelve months.

Shift in Allocation of Assets:*

38%: Made what was termed a “substantial shift” in the allocation of their SMSF’s assets in the previous twelve months.
Of those 38%:*
24%: Became more defensive.
24% Became more diversified.
23% Changed due to optimism in Australian Shares Market.
22%: Tried to focus more on income.

Decision-Making:*

More than 50% created an SMSF because they wanted more control over their investments.
44%: Make all of the investment decisions on their own.
23%: Make decisions with one other person.
17%: Use a Financial Advisor for help.

Goals:*

41%: Long term goals.
39%: Funding additional personal goals.
37%: Meeting day to day living expenses.

Using a Financial Advisor

27% said they would consult a financial advisor if their SMSF wasn’t performing according to their needs. 48% said they would alter their investments on their own.*

Make the Right Choice

At Approved Financial Planners, we combine more than 40 years’ experience in the Perth market with the resources of our parent company, AMP Capital. To learn more or for a free consult, call us today: 08 6462 0888.

SMSF Trustee Source

Can You Track Your Spending for One Month?

If you work with a financial advisor in our Perth office, one of the first things you will probably be asked to do is to figure out your monthly expenses. There is also a pretty good chance that your financial planner will advise you to create a budget.

Track Your Spending for One Month

Knowing monthly income and expenses is one of the first steps to getting a handle on your financial situation. The better you are at this, the easier it is for a financial planner to provide you with your desired results.

Why Track Spending?

Usually, when someone tracks their spending accurately, it is a true eye-opener. They usually find a lot of surprises and have no idea they were spending so much money on entertainment or any of many other things. Accurate tracking allows you to see exactly what you are spending instead of guessing based on what you want to remember.

What to Do

Spending is easily tracked on your smartphone. Both iPhone and Android have plenty of apps to help you easily and accurately track every bit of money you spend. If you don’t like any of the apps, you can create a spreadsheet or just use a piece of paper.

You can create categories for spending, creating categories for transport, rent, utilities, food, beverage, entertainment and maintenance. You can also dig deeper into categories such as water, coffee, wine and others in the category for beverages.

The Intended Result

When you know exactly where your money is going, it is usually easier to create a more realistic budget. It can also show you places where you can save money. For example, if you are spending $200 a month on your morning or afternoon cuppa, you may decide to seek an alternate solution.

Call Approved Financial Planners

Remember that we can’t provide individual advice here: you need to talk to us in our Perth office. To learn more or for an individual consult, call Approved Financial Planners today: 08 6462 0888.

Are Your Superannuation Fees Too High?

One of the advantages to hiring a financial advisor is that they can take a complete look at your finances and find out if you are “leaking” anywhere. If you are in a city like Perth, with a high cost of living, your margin for financial error is smaller and you may benefit greatly from getting sound financial advice.

Are Your Superannuation Fees Too High

While the superannuation contribution freeze is taking up a lot of news space, news.com.au recently published a report in which it said that Australians currently pay an average of $1300 in superannuation fees per year, for a national total of $20 billion.

This works out to 1.2% per year of total balancers. According to a report by the Grattan Institute called “Super Sting,” the average 50 year-old in a high-cost fund will lose $80,000 to superannuation fees by retirement day when compared to a lower cost fund. The same report said a thirty year old will lose $250,000 by the time they retire compared to a lower cost fund.

The Australian Superannuation Funds Association currently estimates that singles who retire at 65 and die at 85 will need to retire with a balance of $544,000 to provide $57,195 per year to live on. They recommend that couples have a balance of $744,000, providing $41,830 each.

Why are the Fees So High?

The fees go mainly to superannuation fund managers. Critics of the current system feel that the fees are exorbitant and are far more than it costs to manage the funds. However, approximately two out of three Australian workers don’t pay any attention to their superannuation costs, choosing the default superfund option at their workplace.

What Does it Mean to You?

It is possible to pay lower fees by having a financial advisor check to see if you are paying too much. If you are, a financial advisor can recommend a lower-cost fund.

Call 08 6462 0888 to learn more.

Where are You Getting Your Financial Advice?

We have provided financial services in Perth for nine years. In that time, we have built a track record based on honesty, integrity and results. When we get to know a client through an introductory consultation, one of the things we start out with is asking if they have done any investing yet.

Where to Get Financial Advice

Sometimes, we hear stories about how they got “advice” online or from well-meaning friends and it didn’t work out. We also hear stories about how they were “sold a bill of goods” by various financial advisors who provided “advice” that was just a cleverly-disguised sales pitch and was in their own self-interest.

Recently, a study led by Susan Thorp, Professor of Finance and Superannuation at the University of Technology, Sydney, indicated that financial advisors who give solid advice on the first issue are usually trusted, even if their later advice turns out to be bad. The study goes on to mention that there is potential for abuse by unscrupulous advisers who manipulate the process by providing easy, obvious advice to gain a client’s trust.*

Ms Thorp goes on to concluded that consumers “need more assistance in choosing advisers.” She also advocates tougher tests for certification as a financial advisor. Those who are interested in the full report can click the link at the bottom of the page.*

Why This Study is Important to You

This study is important because it calls attention to the fact that consumers need to be very careful when choosing a financial advisor. Advice from friends or advice obtained online can often lead to financial ruin.

Approved Financial Planners

At Approved Financial Planners, we believe our track record speaks for itself. We have a host of satisfied clients in the Perth area. We also have access to the resources of AMP Financial Planning Pty Limited, the largest independent financial services company in Australia.

Call 08 6462 0888 today.

*Susan Thorp et al, 30 March, 2014, Individual Judgment and Trust Formation: an Experimental Investigation of Online Financial Advice.

The Government Wants to Make Us Smarter About Money

Those who offer financial services in Perth and across Australia are applauding an ongoing government effort. Courtesy of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Australians are going to continue to become smarter about money. ASIC plans to enhance their website called “Money Smarts” and extend the reach of its Money Smarts program to more schools than it currently reaches.

Financial Literacy in Australia

The changes are part of a three year program that is designed to help raise financial literacy in Australia. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is teaming up with ASIC to provide a national framework that encourages the government, business and education sectors to cooperate and help improve financial literacy.

This news comes on the heels of a recent OECD survey in which 15 year-olds across the globe participated in testing to determine their financial literacy. Australians came in fourth, only to China, Belgium and Estonia, out of 18 highly-developed countries. The baseline or average was 500. Australia scored 526 while China scored 603, beating second place Belgium by 62 points.

These changes are going to happen, even though funding for the program was cut 12% in the May 2014 budget.

Financialisation

There is a new term called “financialisation.” It refers to a trend towards people having to make far more financial decisions now than they did in past eras. Modern consumers now have to choose how much to borrow to buy a home, where to borrow it from and whether the fixed or variable rate is a better deal. There are now internet plans, mobile phone plans and retirement plans.

Financial products such as insurance are also becoming more complicated. Retirement is more complicated because of superannuation, in which one can choose what fund they want, or if they want to create their own Self Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF).

Don’t Go it Alone

While we encourage financial literacy, we strongly encourage that you call a professional financial planner today. 08 6462 0888.

Approaching Retirement? You May Want to Try These Money Moves!

If you have talked about retirement planning to a financial advisor in our Perth office, you probably know how diligent and thorough we are in helping our clients leave nothing to chance when planning their futures. While we never give specific financial advice in blog posts due to the individual and unique nature of every financial situation, we would like to present some general actions that are worth consideration for anyone approaching retirement.

Retirement Planning with Financial Advisor in Perth

Pay Down as Much Debt as Possible

Ideally, you could start your retirement with a “clean slate,” owing nothing. We know that life is not always ideal, but paying off debts is a great place to start for most Australians.

Pay Off Your Mortgage

If you own your home free and clear, you are free of what is usually the largest monthly financial responsibility for any family. It is a lot easier to enjoy retirement when you don’t have to make a house payment every month

Set Your Affairs in Order

This means filing a last will and testament. In the event of your untimely death, your heirs will need access to your money. Lack of a will can cause it to be tied up in court. It will save a lot of grief for your survivors.

Determine How Much Money You Need to Retire On

How much money will you need to live off of when you retire? What happens if you live longer than you thought you would? Will you have enough funds?

Create a Budget

This is best done by listing what you want and need every month. Then figure out how much it costs. This will give you a great idea of how ready you are financially for retirement.

Determine How Much Income You Will Have

How much will you receive from your super fund and pension?

Call Approved Financial Planners

Don’t try to organise your retirement alone. Call a qualified financial advisor today: 08 6462 0888.