50 questions to ask an adviser

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Starting on the right foot with a financial advisor can help ensure you get the most from your meeting. YourLifeChoices has 50 useful questions you may wish to ask.

Starting your meeting

1.    What qualifications or experience do you have?
2.    Are you licensed to give financial advice?
3.    May I have a copy of your Advisory Services Guide?
4.    What can I expect from this meeting?
5.    What fees do you charge?
6.    Can you give tax advice?
7.    What if I have concerns about the outcome of this meeting?
8.    What other information is held on my file and what do you do with it?

Checking your investment options

9.    How does a managed fund work?
10.    How long should I keep my money invested?
11.    How much do I need to start an investment portfolio?
12.    When is the best time to start investing?
13.    How do I know what level of risk is suitable for me?
14.    How can I reduce the risk of losing my money?
15.    What is the long-term benefit of adding money regularly into my investments?
16.    Is it better to put extra money into my home loan to pay it off or into managed investments?
17.    Can you show me how to pay off my mortgage sooner?
18.    What is the difference between growth and income investments?
19.    Will I be charged a fee if I withdraw money from a managed fund?
20.    Do you have any tax effective investments?
22.    How can I protect my investment portfolio from the effects of inflation?
23.    Can I invest with other fund managers?
24.    I’ve paid off some or all of my home loan and have surplus income every month. Can I use this to build an investment portfolio?
25.    What are the benefits and risks of gearing and would it be appropriate for me?
26.    Apart from investments, what else do you provide advice on?
27.    Where can I find information about alternative investment products?
28.    Can you help me invest directly in shares?

Performance and taking returns

29.    How can I track the performance of my investments?
30.    What ongoing information will be given to me about my investments?
31.    How has the particular fund been performing over the medium to long term?
32.    Can you tell me the types of investments the fund invests in?
33.    Who manages the fund, how long has it been operating and how big is it?
34.    Should I reinvest my returns or take the income from my investments?
35.    How often would I receive income from the fund?

Taking the mystery out of superannuation

36.    What are the benefits of investing in super?
37.    How can I contribute to my super?
38.    Am I putting enough money into super?
39.    How do I know that my super is invested wisely?
40.    Should I consolidate my super into one fund?

Getting ready to retire

41.    When should I start planning my retirement?
42.    How do I know if I will have enough to retire on?
43.    How can I structure my investments to make sure that I have enough to live on in retirement?
44.    What happens if I die – who will get the money?
45.    What tax will I have to pay when I remove funds from my super account?
46.    How should I structure my retirement income so I can still receive social security entitlements?

Making sure you have the right insurance

47.    Can you calculate and recommend how much cover I should have?
48.    If I become sick or injured and cannot work what type of insurance would cover living expenses such a mortgage repayments?
49.    Can you help me make provisions for my family should I become disabled, get sick or die?
50.    How do I know if my superannuation includes insurance?    

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Total Comments: 4
  1. 0

    Remember, finance advisors under the new regulations are NOT necessarily charged with acting in YOUR interests regarding your money, so you need to take a very active interest in what they do.

    Ask what are alternatives to managed funds such as very low fee ETFs like Vanguard’s index funds or the LICs listed on the ASX?

    Get them to explain to you the difference in fees between managed funds and ASX listed index following ETF’s and LICS. ETFs and LIC are VERY low compared to managed funds.

    Ask them what the tax implications are for you if the managed funds are buying and selling shares all year.

    Get them to explain the performance difference between managed funds and index following ETFs and LICS. Ensure they INCLUDE years like the GFC 2008/09 as this should ensure their figures don’t look all rosy.

    Ask if there is a ‘platform’ they use to manage your funds. If the answer is yes, find out what percentage that platform manager takes. There are often 3 levels of fees – the finance advisor, the managed funds and the platform. Between them they could be taking 3% or more of your total funds annually. Let’s say you made $30K on $300K of your money after fees. You made 10% for the year which is very good. If you paid 3% fees on your $300K you paid out $9K to your advisor, the platform and the managed funds. They have made 30% of what you made! In this scenario they would have made over $90K over 10 years – money YOU did not get to use.

    Ask them what they know about tax effective tax vehicles for different assets you might want to purchase. If they don’t know tax structures you need another advisor.

    Ask them about the best way to manage your Super including setting up a SMSF. Make sure you ask all the questions above and more.

    These are just some ideas to help you survive – remember – it’s your money and NO-ONE else and I mean NO-ONE, will look after your money for you – except YOU.

  2. 0

    I’m not sure where to start, even on this website. Whilst my circumstances may be different from a majority I am certain that there are others who would have been through similar.

    I am retiring at the end of the year as I turn 65, my wife is in her late 40s. I have been resident in Asia for many years and my wealth base is practically all in property which I am in the process of liquidating. As soon as they are all cashed in then I’m ready to move back to Australia. I am married and I still have 2 teenagers.

    I will not have staggering funds to bring bank but sufficient. We intend to buy a nut farm Which is both for something to do as well as well as one of our adult sons will be getting nvolved (my finance) I don’t want to use more than about 50% of funds on the farm but what to do with the rest.

    I have been away from Australia for 40years so I really have no idea. I am looking for articles and ideas relevant to expats returning for retirement that have not pre-planned the return. (Planned for the funds just not the location ahead of time). I have no superannuation fund.

    Any pointers either information or directions to relevant articles would be gratefully received.


  3. 0

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