When first deciding to engage a financial planner, many individuals are unsure as to what the financial planning process involves and the type of advice that will be provided.
Below is a summary of the steps within the JR Financial Planning process, from initial contact through to the ongoing review. Along each step of the way, a Certified Financial Planner® will guide and support you towards the achievement of your financial goals and objectives.
Step 1 – Initial Meeting
Following initial contact, we will arrange a meeting to discuss your current circumstances and what you wish to achieve. In preparing for the meeting, we typically request that clients bring some relevant documentation, including superannuation statements, investment portfolio details, estimated balances of other assets and liabilities, as well as personal insurance policy documents.
The meeting is an informal general discussion, providing clients with the opportunity to ask questions and ascertain whether our services will help satisfy their needs.
Topics discussed at this meeting may include:
• Cash Flow – where any surplus is being directed (eg. savings account, debt repayment).
• Existing Assets and Liabilities – plans and options for the principal residence, investment property or listed share portfolio, as well as any associated liabilities.
• Superannuation – where benefits are currently held, contributions being made, the benefits of consolidating numerous Funds into one and reviewing the appropriateness of existing investment options.
• Pensions – if reaching preservation age, the appropriateness of a transition to retirement strategy and/or salary sacrifice contributions.
• Insurance – if there is existing personal insurance held (eg. Life, Income Protection) and whether it is appropriate in eliminating debt or satisfying general lifestyle needs, should an accident, illness or death occur.
• Estate Planning – whether Wills been established and Enduring Powers of Attorney nominated. Ensuring valid and appropriate death nominations within superannuation.
Some clients have other topics of interest also and numerous questions they would like answered. The initial meeting provides the opportunity to discuss these and lay the foundations for streamlining one’s financial affairs.
JR Financial Planning is based in Kew East, however we often visit clients closer to home or work if more convenient.
Step 2 – Preparing your Financial Plan (Statement of Advice)
During the initial meeting, the scope of advice to be provided will be determined. From this, we will gather all relevant information to be used in the development of your financial strategy. This may involve providing clients with a list of items required and/or JR Financial Planning contacting the superannuation, investment and insurance companies directly.
JR Financial Planning will then issue a Statement of Advice, for clients to review and note any questions prior to our next meeting. The document formally details the recommendations and the rationale behind them. As an example, if there is a recommendation to consolidate numerous Superannuation Funds into one, it will note in detail the benefits and considerations of doing so, including any savings on fees and tax, as well as how benefits should be invested once consolidated.
As well as the Statement of Advice, all other documentation is delivered with the hard copy, including any application, transfer or withdrawal forms. Thorough research from our partners at Lonsec and UBS is provided for all investment recommendations.
Our fee for preparing the Statement of Advice is disclosed during the initial meeting and again within the Statement of Advice. In regards to payment, clients generally opt to have their Superannuation Funds account for it. This can be beneficial in that their financial affairs can be professionally managed, without an impact on personal cash flow.
Step 3 – Statement of Advice Meeting
Once clients have had the opportunity to properly read their Statement of Advice and its recommendations, we arrange a second meeting to walk through it together. This is aimed at answering any questions, whilst ensuring that clients understand the recommendations and why they are appropriate to them.
We clearly explain the various strategies, along with the benefits and considerations of each, to ensure that clients indeed have a complete understanding of their Statement of Advice. After all, we place great importance on educating clients on their financial well-being over time, rather than simply providing recommendations.
At this time, we will also walk through any other documentation such as application forms, to aid their successful completion and assist with a smooth implementation.
Step 4 – Implementation
Only once clients are comfortable and fully understand the recommendations, will any changes be implemented. In doing so, we submit all relevant documentation to parties (eg. Superannuation Funds) and follow up with them to confirm receipt and processing.
We monitor account transactions to ensure that such parties have processed changes correctly and in regards to personal insurance, liaise directly with the underwriter on the client’s behalf. At every stage, we issue clients an update on any progress, as well as providing instructions should anything further be required.
Step 5 – Ongoing Review Service
At JR Financial Planning, we believe it is important that regular communications and reviews be conducted. This provides additional financial education, whilst also helping ensure that clients’ financial needs and objectives remain appropriate over time and consistent with their long term strategy.
We encourage clients to inform us of changes in personal and financial circumstances that may affect their long term strategy. At the same time, we provide regular updates on the economic environment and any investment and legislative changes that may affect an investment strategy.
We conduct a formal annual review and meeting with clients, but also offer unlimited meetings, phone calls, emails and other correspondence as part of our service. Any cost associated with the Ongoing Review Service is disclosed in the Statement of Advice and confirmed with clients prior to implementation.
This information provides a snapshot of the JR Financial Planning process. Please feel free to contact us to discuss your personal circumstances with a Certified Financial Planner®.