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Any recommendations of financial planners in Canberra?

By Charchar - 5 March 2009 42

Hi there,

I’m a little late with my new years resolution to get my financial affairs in order but I’m determined that this will be the year.

I’m finally earning a decent income and would like some professional advice on how much I should be saving and whether I should pay extra off my HECS debt?

What’s Your opinion?


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42 Responses to
Any recommendations of financial planners in Canberra?
SheepGroper 1:23 pm 05 Mar 09

You don’t need to educate yourself to the standard of being a financial planner, just learning how to save money each pay, and the choices you have in how you make your savings work for you is a decent start.

At the very least you need to know enough to detect if you’re being screwed over, unlike the people who lost everything in the Storm fiasco.

Self education plus a friend who was doing what I wanted to do and was willing to give me a list of books to read on the subject worked well for me.

aa 1:09 pm 05 Mar 09

A friend of mine has a theory, if a financial planner knows what he’s talking about, he wouldn’t be working for a living.

mrnamjama 1:00 pm 05 Mar 09

There are people who make a living out of being up to date and knowledgeable about these matters. I don’t have the sort of time I’d need to invest to get even close to the level of competence I’d expect from an accountant or financial advisor. Happy to pay for their services instead!

SheepGroper 12:57 pm 05 Mar 09

Go to one of the public libraries and browse through the books available on finance, investing etc. There’s nothing like educating yourself enough to be able to decide what would suit you best.

mrnamjama 12:39 pm 05 Mar 09

So any recommendations for a good accountant who might be able to help out with this as well?

54-11 12:35 pm 05 Mar 09

Stay away from Civic Financial Planning – all they do is steer you toward their preferred products, from which they get the greatest return. You might be the client, but all their advice is geared to their profits.

Tronno is right about having to declare kickbacks – however, that only applies to “hard” commissions, not the “soft” ones. The product providers are very adept at structuring products to increase non-declared soft commissions, and financial plannerrs like Civic are very adept at making the most of these.

Whichever way, you’re screwed. Find a commission-only advisor, who will genuinely act on your behalf. There might be one, but they’re almost impossible to find. All seem to have tie-ins of some sort. Have a look at this huge thread on Yahoo: http://au.messages.yahoo.com/finance/finance_news/5809?p=2

G-Fresh 12:28 pm 05 Mar 09

My bad it is indexed with the CPI, see below.

HELP(HECS) indexation rates ATO:
2006 – 2.8%
2007 – 3.4%
2008 – 2.8%
RBA Year Ended (June) Percentage Change inflation rates RBA:
2006 – 4.0%
2007 – 2.1%
2008 – 4.5%

Tronno 12:21 pm 05 Mar 09

Financial planners are required to disclose if they are getting a kickback on anything they recommend to you.

I’d recommend going with a smaller CPA or CA firm

realityskin 12:07 pm 05 Mar 09

If you haven’t bought a house, get a home loan savers account, and the Gov will top you 17% of whatever you put in up to 70k !

Put it ALL in there.

Pay minimum off HECS.

Jim Jones 11:57 am 05 Mar 09

G-Fresh said :

As for the HECS better to only make minimum payments as it is essentially an interest free loan – indexed with inflation.

I dunno about this. For some reason, I think that the indexation method they use outstrips actual inflation pretty drastically.

I could be wrong. I’ve always been crap with cash.

G-Fresh 11:44 am 05 Mar 09

As for the HECS better to only make minimum payments as it is essentially an interest free loan – indexed with inflation.

poptop 11:43 am 05 Mar 09

Another $0.02 – your longer term investment strategy will depend, to a degree, on the Henry Review of the Australian tax system.

Sock your cash into term deposits, etc until an outcome is known.

Clown Killer 11:41 am 05 Mar 09

A good accountant will provide you with the sort of advice you’re looking for.

Financial planners will, as a rule, be trying to flog you a range of managed investments – they’ll offer you just enough advice with respect to savings and getting your financial poo together so that you can afford to buy into whatever they’re flogging.

Which seems like an appropriate segue to an accountant joke:
Q. How can you spot an extroverted accountant?
A. They look at YOUR shoes when talking to you.

djk 11:36 am 05 Mar 09

No real recommendations, but if I may offer my $0.02:

Basically your HECS debt is the cheapest loan you will ever get. I am not 100% sure, but I think any extra payments you make onto your HECS can not be redrawn, meaning you should be very sure you do dont want to use the money for anything else in the next 5 years or so before paying it to HECS.

If you are planning on investing/travelling/buying a house/whatever in the next few years, you would be better off (at a minimum) putting the savings into an online savings account, as even the interest you receive on that should be more than the interest you would save on your HECS. You could also look at term deposits or bonds for a better rate if you dont need the money for a while.

For a more aggressive approach, I would park the money in an online account until later in the year, and then look at getting into some solid shares when the market starts going up again.

Managed funds could also be a good option to take advantage of the likely rebound without the need do all the research, buying shares, etc yourself. This would be particularly good as it sounds like you will have regular savings to go in, and can have a savings plan set up that it purchases a certain $ amount of units in the fund each month. This can not be done as easily with direct share investment.

frontrow 11:26 am 05 Mar 09

Financial planners are usually just retailers of products developed elsewhere. The kind of budgeting advice you are looking for is best obtained from somewhere like lifeline.

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