One thought that stops people from getting the most out of their money and planning a financial future is believing that they do not earn enough to get advice from professionals - that financial advisers are only for the rich. Nothing could be more untrue, says Old Mutual.
Financial planning is about acting today to build a better future. Delaying a decision to get advice because you believe you must first have a large bank account goes against the first two rules of financial planning; knowing how to budget and build financial security while starting to invest should begin early, says John Manyike, Head of Financial Education at Old Mutual.
"Professional financial advisers always begin with the basics by helping people think about the stages of their lives and what they will need to save to achieve their dreams. They, therefore, prefer building a long-term relationship with customers and growing with them. The earlier this partnership is created, the better."
The advantages that a financial adviser brings to the money planning process are:
- They are qualified, registered financial professionals.
- They spend time getting to know each customer's needs.
- They understand short, medium, and long-term investment products and services.
- They advise on risk and returns, what investments are riskier than others and the rewards that products offer.
- They continuously research markets and find new services and products for their customers.
- They are well-informed about tax laws and the impact these can have on financial planning.
"Financial advisers can, because of their training and understanding, help plan your future from the time you get your first salary to the time you retire. They can also help build a legacy that will secure the future of your loved ones after you have passed,“ says Manyike.
Old Mutual research shows that people know that they must save. However, many do not know how to plan properly and begin building short, medium, and long-term savings while also ensuring there is money for emergencies.
A financial adviser knows that:
- People who have plans to achieve their goals are more likely to succeed.
- Saving becomes a habit that, once learned, lasts a lifetime.
- A professionally drawn-up plan keeps people on track.
- Plans should be checked and discussed regularly and, if needed, be changed to meet targets.
"A financial adviser is different to other financial professionals as they work directly with families, understand their needs and then plan all parts of their finances. They become true partners who can be called on whenever advice is needed," says Manyike, pointing out that advisers are usually most valued when:
- Personal changes like getting married or having children occur.
- When your finances change because you get a promotion or inherit money and want to know how to best use the extra cash.
- When you are worried about your ability to plan.
It is also worth knowing that there are two types of financial advisers in the market.
A “tied” adviser works only for a company like OId Mutual and plans finances using only their products. This type of adviser is recommended for customers who have an affinity or are comfortable with the track record of a particular brand or already have investments with a financial institution and prefer the security offered by dealing with a single, major company.
"Customers then also know that the advisers they work with will be well-trained, have the support of a range of financial experts and that their advice is checked," says Manyike.
"An independent adviser or broker is also registered but gives customers access to the financial products of more than one company. Ultimately, the choice about who to use is with you."
"What should always be remembered is that a financial adviser is there to make your life better. How much money you start investing is not essential. Selecting the right adviser to guide you along life's financial journey is vital, Manyike says.