Q. I recently inherited a sum of money and am looking at retiring in the next 12 to 18 months. I went to a recommended financial planner for information on how to structure my finances. At the outset I told him I wanted a plan but no ongoing relationship apart from perhaps a six- or 12-month ’tweaking’ meeting. After two quite long meetings, he emailed made to say he did not want to deal with me as he couldn’t make ongoing money from me. Honest, but harsh! Are there any knowledgeable planners out there who work the way I’d like them to?
A. The reaction of the adviser you have been to is a little unusual. If you indicated at the outset that you only wanted upfront and not ongoing advice, it is surprising that the adviser proceeded with the two “quite long meetings” only to indicate that he only wanted an ongoing relationship. Most advisers would generally prefer to embark on an ongoing advice relationship as it is the best way to allow them t’o deliver on their promises. Initial advice or a financial plan is simply a starting point and without ongoing monitoring there is a much lower likelihood that the objectives will be achieved. However, it is possible you could find an adviser who is prepared to provide the upfront financial plan only, but it is likely that they will charge more for it than they would in a situation where they would have an ongoing relationship with you.
Q. I know we are in a falling market, but I have not been happy with my super fund, chosen on the advice of my financial adviser. I had over $450,000 in the fund in the first place, but now it is a lot lower. I would like to know the best place for me to have it, given that I am 75 and receive a part pension as well and own my home.
A. This is a difficult question to respond to without knowing a lot more information about your personal circumstances and about the nature of the investments held in your current fund. The underlying investments in managed superannuation funds varies significantly from up to 100 percent cash to up to 100 percent equities, and given your fund is declining, it must have some reasonable exposure to equity markets. This is not necessarily a bad thing as markets do go up and down over time. What is more important is ensuring that the fund in which you are invested best suits your personal circumstances and, in particular, your cash-flow requirements, including protecting your entitlement to a part-Age Pension. It is important that you discuss your concerns with your adviser and ensure you are satisfied that the adviser is answering your questions and dealing with your concerns in your best interests. If you feel this is not the case you should seek a second opinion and ask friends or relatives to provide you with a reference to another adviser.
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