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Financial planning 

Deciding on how to get the most out of your redundancy package, inheritance or superannuation isn’t always easy.

If you are thinking of investing, a financial adviser can be a valuable source of advice and assistance. However, with so many organisations offering a bewildering array of financial planning services, it makes sense to choose carefully.

You should ask friends, colleagues or your accountant for recommendations, and choose two or three advisers for comparison. Check credentials carefully – ‘dodgy’ advisers will be cagey about their background and experience. An adviser should be appropriately licensed and a member of the Financial Planning Association. Ask to see documentation to prove their status.

Basic bank accounts

Some banks have basic bank accounts specifically designed for pensioners and people over a certain age (eg. 55 or 60). These have a limited number of free transactions, no account keeping fees and no minimum monthly balance.

More recently, some banks have announced basic bank accounts for people who have a Commonwealth Government health concession card. These accounts have the following minimum features:

  • no account-keeping fees
  • no minimum monthly balance
  • six free non-deposit transactions per month (three of these can be over the counter withdrawals).

Some banks have announced basic bank accounts with more generous features such as unlimited fee-free over the counter transactions for customers aged 60 and over.

Investment advisers

A brochure produced jointly by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA), called Don't kiss your money goodbye, explains why it’s useful to employ an investment adviser.

The brochure provides a list of useful questions to ask prospective advisers such as:

  • Do they have professional indemnity insurance?
  • What is their level of experience?
  • What fees and commissions do they charge?
  • What links do they have with investment companies?

It also warns about the danger signs, such as promises of high returns with no details, having all your investment eggs in the one basket, advice that focuses on tax, and the offering of investments with no registered prospectus.

Need more information?

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
Tel: 1300 300 630
www.moneysmart.gov.au

Financial Planning Association (FPA)
Tel: 1300 626 393
www.fpa.asn.au