It’s a question I get asked in various guises all the time. Do I know a good financial planner? What super fund am I with? Who is my accountant? How do I invest?
What these questions really boil down to is – who do I trust?
When you are looking for the truth in getting some sound money advice, there is more than one way to approach the challenge.
Here are three things to do yourself to get you ready for some trustworthy advice – or to be able to realise who is not trustworthy when you go through the process.
You need to know your own financial position.
This means knowing exactly how much your life costs to run per month. All your expenses. How much do you have in debt? In your super fund? On your credit cards? What is your house valued at if you want one? What is the mortgage left on it?
I have found time and again that even the smartest people I know don’t have this information at hand. Which makes it very hard to think about financial strategy.
Know what you want from your life.
That sounds big right? But it is absolutely essential to understand where you want to go before you get a roadmap built to get there. Again, sounds easy enough, but when you really dig deep, most of us have not defined what we want. Do you want your kids in private school? Do you want to own your own home? Do you want to retire and travel? If so, where? What legacy to do you want to leave your kids? What age do you want to retire?
All these things need to be defined no matter what stage of life you are at in order to get a successful road map going.
Mentally prepare yourself to be flexible.
What do I mean by that? You might find that when you know the answers on your finances, and have some defined life plans, that you seek advice and the bottom-line answer is: you can’t afford what you want. It’s then time to be flexible with your plans. Can you work a second job? Can you wait until you have a 20% deposit not 10% for a house? Can you find a more affordable area to live? Whatever the sacrifice or change is, you need to be flexible in how you get there. Being told you can’t have your dreams is not an option. Finding different paths to get there is a much better way.
It becomes a lot easier to find out who to trust if you have a clear picture of what you have and what you want. Then you can work with a trusted adviser to put a roadmap together than works for you. And if they are not interested in doing that, they are not the person you should be trusting with your financial future.