Q
What is the role of a financial adviser?
AGood advice from an experienced, well-informed adviser can help people save money, protect against risk, manage debts, grow assets, reduce tax liabilities, plan for retirement, identify entitlements for government benefits, and plan what inheritance is to be left to the next generation. A financial adviser’s first responsibility is to the client, not to an employer, a product manufacturer, to him/herself or to anyone except the client.

When providing personal financial advice an adviser must take into account the individual client’s circumstances and goals. The advice may or may not involve the recommendation of a financial product. The role of a financial adviser is not to sell financial products.

Q
When is advice needed?
AMost people choose to see a financial adviser at significant turning points in their life. They may need a professional to help them consider their options and to understand financial products, tax laws or the benefit system. Once people find an adviser with whom they’re comfortable, a long-term relationship often develops with regular meetings to review changing needs.

People most often consult a financial planner when:

  • Starting work or changing jobs and looking at superannuation options
  • Getting married, or separating from a partner
  • Starting a family, and saving for education costs
  • Buying a house, or paying off the mortgage
  • Looking to invest for capital growth
  • Planning to retire
  • Inheriting money, receiving redundancy payments or other lump sum payments.
Q
What does a financial adviser do?
AA financial planner sets out to understand each client’s different needs and financial objectives and to recommend an appropriate financial strategy.

There is an established six step financial planning process which our advisers follow with every new client:

  1. Gather financial information about the client
  2. Identify financial and lifestyle goals
  3. Identify any financial issues
  4. Prepare a financial plan
  5. Implement the plan
  6. Review and revise the plan at regular intervals, or when circumstances change.
Q
How can I accumulate wealth?
AThe key to successful wealth accumulation is to set clearly defined and realistic goals and to then design a plan that will help you to achieve those goals.

Your financial adviser can help you design a tax effective plan and an asset allocation strategy that is tailored to your individual circumstances. This will take into account the length of time you will be investing and your willingness to accept volatility in your investments.

Should you need to accelerate your wealth accumulation plan, your Adviser can show you how to use a gearing (or “borrowing to invest”) strategy that does not add to your investment risk unnecessarily.

Q
How much money or assets do I need to see an adviser?
AThe actual amount of your savings or assets does not matter. The situation of each individual is unique and equally important. A Stonehouse Adviser will look at your situation and help you with a strategy that is best for you.
Q
What is a managed investment?
AThis is a type of investment that brings the assets of multiple investors into a single investment pool, with a common investment strategy or objective. The benefits of a managed investment are that you have access to professional management, lower costs through economies of scale and access to greater diversification.

Stonehouse is a privately owned and operated company. As no investment or insurance provider has any ownership or material interest in Stonehouse, you can be assured that our Advisers only recommend investments that are suited to you and your financial situation.

Q
Why should I protect my assets?
AYou can’t afford to leave your wealth unprotected. Your Stonehouse Adviser can help you steer your assets safely through difficult times.

Protecting your hard-earned assets through appropriate insurance is an integral part of the financial planning process. The trauma of death, accident or serious illness can be devastating for you, your family and your financial plan, especially if you’re in the wealth accumulation phase of your financial plan – that is, investing to build your wealth during your working life.

The right insurance advice can help you minimise risks, secure your family’s future and soften the financial blow of serious illness or injury. Your Adviser is able to analyse your insurance needs and recommend appropriate wealth protection solutions.

The same care and expertise your Adviser applies to planning your affairs during your lifetime extends to planning the transfer of your assets to your family and other beneficiaries when you die.

Your Adviser can work with you, your solicitor and/or an estate planning specialist to help you structure a tax-effective estate plan using testamentary trusts and other strategies to protect your assets from unnecessary taxation or the unwelcome claims of others.

Q
How does investing in an allocated annuity or allocated pension affect my social security benefits?
ABy investing in an allocated annuity or pension your eligibility for social security benefits may be enhanced. There are two tests, which will determine if you are entitled to social security benefits:

  • Assets test – This takes into account the whole amount of your annuity/pension.
  • Income test – This may only take into consideration part of your annuity/pension payments.
Q
How much does it cost to see an adviser?
AAgain the costs will be different for different individuals as their circumstances are unique. The two things to remember is that the first consultation is free with a Stonehouse Adviser and that before you act on our recommendations, you will understand fully the benefits and the costs.