Bruce Brammall, The West Australian, 30 September, 2019
I think we’d all like to believe that the older we get, the wiser we get. We want to make fewer mistakes.
There are just so many damn mistakes to make in life.
So many could be avoided completely by paying someone to make sure no mistake is made in the first place. And the older I get, the more fond of this option I become.
For example, I no longer make DIY home handyman mistakes. Because I don’t do DIY anymore. I pay guys to do it better, faster and probably cheaper.
Today I made a mistake. I’m currently writing this on the deck of a hotel villa in Tangalle, Sri Lanka. I’m outside because they’ve turned off the power to fix the hot water in my room. No air con. But worse, the beers in my fridge are now warm. And it’s just hit beer o’clock. I should have transferred these beers to the fridge of our travelling companions hours ago. D’oh!
When it comes to money, not everyone needs a financial adviser. Some people’s affairs are very simple. But the older/wealthier you become, the more complex your financial position tends to become.
Here’s why you should want one.
A financial adviser is not just about generating investment returns. That’s a tangible risk-based calculation.
It’s the following intangible elements that provide the real benefits.
Stopping you from making mistakes is probably one of the greatest things a financial adviser can do.
It can be hard to quantify. If an adviser stops you doing something stupid, how much money have you saved?
As an adviser, I get to see a lot of disasters, after the event. When all that can be done is to try to help stem the bleeding. So many errors could have been prevented (particularly those involving property developers).
If an adviser can stop you from making just a couple of big mistakes in your life, they will have paid for themselves.
Wading through finance
No-one knows everything about the rules and laws of finance. Most people actually know very little. And that is often a conscious choice.
While the basics are fairly simple and are often common sense, the reality is applying them to your situation can be very difficult.
If you have no interest in learning about finance, but realise you need to do something, a financial adviser can help pinpoint the important elements, as they relate to you.
Running flags up poles
You have read/heard something exciting. But don’t know if it’s right for you.
It might be. Or it could be a financial disaster waiting to happen. An adviser who knows your situation can quickly sum up the opportunity and advise on whether it’s a fit for you.
Give you back your time
You know your finances need some attention paid to them. You want to make sure your investments are doing what they should be, to reduce your tax, that your retirement plans are on track.
But where the hell are you going to find the time to do it? Around making sure you’re on top of your own profession, being a parent and making time for enjoying your life?
I know I’m capable of painting the side fence, doing the gardening, keeping the house clean, building the shelves under the stairs, doing the ironing each week …
But I also know I won’t. I just don’t have the time. This is why I hire professionals in my life. The job will get done, better.
Peace of mind
Whether its being properly protected with insurance, knowing your retirement plans are progressing, your investments are being monitored, you have someone to run ideas past, a financial adviser should allow you to be able to, largely, rest easy.
Some of the biggest mistakes are fuelled by panic. Selling because markets are falling would top that list.
Selling should be a rational decision. Most of the time, however, selling in reaction to falls is a decision made too late. It’s your adviser’s job to calmly talk you through decisions in rocky markets.
If you have an adviser, I hope they are providing you these benefits. If you don’t, but wish you did, are you making a mistake by not having an adviser?