Financial health – like physical and mental health – requires time, care and effort. If prioritising your financial health is your goal for the new year, meeting with a financial advisor can help you manage your finances more holistically. While some “financial advisors” are really just financial salesmen in disguise, good financial advisors help you optimise your money so you can meet your life goals. Here’s how a good advisor can put you on track for a better future.
Take stock of your finances
A typical phone call or meeting with your financial advisor should start with a conversation about your financial objectives, challenges and habits. They may ask about your present financial situation – your bank balances, assets, debt, and any insurance policies you may have. Using the information gathered, your advisor can better assess the health of your finances and help you gain a clearer understanding of where your money is now, and where it’s going.
Once they know your goals, your advisor can calculate the rate of return you will need to earn to get there within your intended time frame. If you’d like to fund your child’s university education in 15 years, your advisor can run the math to determine exactly how much you need to save and where you should invest your funds to achieve that goal.
Create a budget
A budget keeps your spending habits in check. If you’ve tried but failed to consistently keep to one, a financial advisor can help you create a budget that’s tailored to your personal financial situation so you’ll actually stick with it over time. Using your total monthly income and expected monthly expenses, an advisor will help you do up a budgeting system that accounts for all your expenses while keeping in mind your life goals.
When major life events occur, such as getting married or having a child, professional financial help can also ensure you prioritise your new financial responsibilities the best way to secure your family’s financial future.
Manage your investments
No matter which stage of life you’re at, you want your money to work harder for you, not collect digital dust in your savings account. A good financial advisor can help you start investing if you’ve been waiting on the sidelines, or invest better if you’ve been investing on your own.
Investment advice given can range from general recommendations on the type of asset allocation model you should follow, to specific recommendations on which investments to buy and sell. Typically, an advisor will help you assess your risk tolerance and risk capacity to determine your ideal portfolio asset allocation. They may recommend a suitable portfolio that will help you reach your goals, and explain how it fits in with the long-term financial plan they have created for you.
A professional advisor can also help you manage your investments so you don’t make decisions when your emotions are running high. Very often, investors start impulsively selling their underperforming investments when the stock market drops. But by doing so, you are turning paper losses to permanent losses. Short-term rises and dips in the market are part and parcel of long-term investing. Ultimately, a good advisor is there to keep you focused, disciplined, and consistent with the steps you need to take – and avoid – as you grow your wealth.
Act in your best interest
One helpful advice that Syfe financial advisors give their clients is to always check how much you’re paying in fees for your investment. High fees eat into your returns. With low-cost investments, you keep more of your returns instead of paying them out as fees. For instance, our advisor may point out the high fees involved with your unit trust investment and suggest a lower-cost Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) that covers the same sector.
This is also a key reason why Syfe uses low-cost, global ETFs in all our portfolios. That said, our financial advisors don’t just advise you on Syfe portfolios. Instead, they look at a wide range of options to suggest the best products that match your financial goals. Some advisors may only recommend their own company’s products while others may push products that earn them a higher commission. It is thus important to find an advisor who acts in your best interest. At Syfe, our advisors don’t work on a commission basis. You can be assured they will never push Syfe portfolios to you if there is another investment product more suitable for your needs.
Hold you accountable
Think of your advisor as a personal trainer for your financial fitness. Instead of making sure you go to the gym and do the prescribed exercises, your advisor will send reminders and check in periodically to make sure you’re on the right track with your financial plan.
If your plan calls for transferring an extra $300 to your investment account each month, your advisor can keep you accountable. Knowing that you should stick to your financial plan and actually carrying out the required steps can be vastly different. A financial advisor acts as your accountability partner to nudge you back on track when you fall behind, and keep you motivated as you press on to the finish line.
To get financially fit for the new decade ahead, speak to a Syfe expert today for a complimentary, no-obligation assessment of your financial situation. We will work with you to provide the right tools you’ll need to put your financial plan into action.