Frequently Asked Questions

These are questions we often get asked.  Click on any of the sections below to expand them.

  • What is Financial Advice?

    Financial Advice means different things to different people. What’s the best super fund, the best investment….? It’s much more than that!

    At RetireInvest Circular Quay  we view financial advice as first getting peoples financial affairs in order, then keeping them that way. As a financial advisor we help you identify your long term goals, protect against risk, save money, reduce tax, maximise government pension payments, manage debts, grow assets and appropriately organise inheritances.

    Our first responsibility is to you,  the client, your individual circumstance, goals and dreams, that’s our mission, what gets us up in the morning.

  • When is financial advice needed?

    Do you think about the many government changes to super, tax and perhaps even Centrelink benefits ?

    Do you wonder if you are saving and investing in a way that best suits you?

    How do you feel when investment markets take a tumble?

    Are you on track to meet your retirement objectives and do you have a clear picture of what those objectives might look like?

    How long will my money last?

    How much can I spend every year?

    How can I maximise the inheritance I pass on to my children?

    What investment is right for your risk profile? Shares? Managed funds? Property?

    How do I protect myself in case of injury or financial misfortune?

    How can I make the most of government benefits like the Aged Pension?

    If your answers to the above questions are unclear or create a sense of concern then financial advice is probably needed.

    Every adult has financial responsibilities they can competently manage every day. But when it comes to more complex financial decisions, ones which may determine future prosperity, who do you turn to?

    There are many questions an everyday person needs answered, in fact, it’s a bit of a minefield. In short, the whole idea of hiring a professional is that they are masters at the areas you are not so strong at; and that is why financial planning is paramount, so you can spend time on the things you most enjoy and/or are good at.

  • Do I need a financial planner?

    It is always a good time to straighten out your financial strategy so you can maximise your lifetime wealth. This being said; most of my clients come to me for the following reasons:

    • Should you invest in shares, cash, fixed interest, property or perhaps all of them? Should investments be Australian or international?
    • How can you make your investment strategy more tax-effective?
    • Is your superannuation growing fast enough to meet your goals?
    • Is your lifestyle protected against serious illness or accident?
    • Are you making the most of government support?
    • Do you have a valid Will?
  • Who will provide me with my Financial Advice?

    John Walker is a Financial Planner, and holds the internationally recognised Certified Financial Planner™ or CFP® qualification from the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA).

    He has been in the field for more than 30 years starting at RetireInvest in 1988, serving over 600 clients over that time. He is also a Justice of the Peace and has a Diploma in Financial Planning from Deakin University.

    These accreditations, together with his extensive experience, means that he is well qualified to help clients to achieve their financial goals.

  • What financial advice can you provide, and what do you specialise in?

    At RetireInvest Circular Quay, John can advise on a broad number of areas:-

    • For young and middle aged people:
      • Cost effective insurance programs, including life and income cover, and assist with implementation
      • Cash flow analysis
      • Recommending appropriate superannuation and effective levels of contributions, including Self Managed Super Find (SMSF)
      • Guidance towards appropriate estate planning- including the choice of guardians for your young children in the event of death
      • Advising on appropriate borrowing programs to create wealth or buy a home
      • If appropriate, create financial projections for the short to medium term
      • Creating an appropriate investment strategy considering your wealth goals
    • For those planning for retirement
      • Establish an estimated level of retirement funds required to support a confident and comfortable retirement
      • Establish tax effective savings programs, illustrated by supportive projections to accumulate the suggested retirement amount
      • Design an effective and appropriate risk management program based on personal insurances in the event that unforeseen illness or accident befalls you.
      • Review on an ongoing basis your estate plan involving estate assets and non-estate assets to ensure that the right money gets into the right hands at the right time should a death occur
      • Review investments (including superannuation) and savings programs to ensure they maximise current opportunities (including SMSF advice)
    • For those retired and beyond
      • Ensure that your financial situation is working as hard as possible for you by using appropriate measures for asset allocation
      • Explore your eligibility for government benefits such as the age pension
      • Review estate plans on an ongoing basis- especially when personal circumstances change
      • Provide ongoing projections to continually monitor your progress towards your goals.
      • Explain in simple language options open to you and how your finances will be able to meet any associated costs in the event that you require some assistance at home or in a care residence, due to failing health.

    In particular, we specialise in strategies for individuals and couples over 50 who fall into one of three main categories: Pre-retirement, Retirement and Aged Care.

  • What should I expect at my first meeting with John?

    The initial consultation is free.

    You do the talking and we do the listening.

    The whole idea is to find out how we can help you. We will help you to identify what’s most important in your life so that you can start to plan your path to get there.

    We will also explain what the process will be, how long it will take and what information will be needed. All fees and charges are outlined up front, so if you do decide to go ahead you know how much it will cost.

  • What should I bring to my first meeting?

    The first meeting is all about getting to know you, your goals and a general understand of where your financial bottlenecks are. Hence bring to the meeting:

    • All relevant stakeholders, such as a partner or a son or daughter
    • Current statements of bank accounts, super, investments, mortgages, debts, copies of wills, powers of attorney and enduring guardianships
    • A feeling for your financial objectives and lifestyle goals
    • Likely near and medium term expenses
  • Can you give me a step by step understanding of the complete Financial Advice process?

    The initial meeting usually covers why you have come to us, your goals and some general advice as to the way forward. The first step is the beginning of a 7-step process:-

    1. First meeting:
      1. Getting to know you
      2. Gather information about your goals and dreams
      3. Understand areas where you need assistance (financial stress points)
      4. Some general tips
    2. Getting all the facts
      1. Develop a clear picture of your situation
      2. Gather all financial information about you
      3. Understand your risk ‘comfort zones’ (preferences)
    3. Agreeing on the level of service required and desired, at which point:
      1. Issue a letter of engagement
      2. Agree and disclose costs around service
    4. Prepare YOUR financial plan called a Statement of Advice (SOA).
      1. Analyse strategies and options given your situation and preferences
      2. Write up a personalised report detailing our recommendation and way forward
    5. Present the report and advice to you
      1. Present and discuss recommendations in the report
      2. Discuss way forward considering meeting resolutions
    6. Implement the plan for you
      1. Implement the agreed strategy
      2. Documenting administration
      3. Confirm your strategy is in place
    7. Review the plan to ensure headwinds are diverted and goals are achieved
      1. Update portfolio if investment research deems necessary
      2. Consider new legislation opportunities/threats
      3. Ensure goals are being achieved
  • How long from our meeting to implementation?

    If you are happy with our recommendations in the Statement of Advice (SOA) and wish to proceed, the length of time is a function of many factors. Our goal is to get each client on his or her financial path as quickly as possible, however hold ups can occur, such as availability of information or money. Usually the time can range from 5 days to 20 days.

  • How much does the average Statement Of Advice (SOA) cost?

    It depends on the complexity of your financial affairs, everyone’s circumstances are unique. In general when we include initial meetings, follow up meetings and appropriate enquires followed by a written report, the Fee is quite reasonable and can range  from $1650 to around $5000 including GST.

    Situations that turn out to be more complicated than at first assessed, can be reviewed in light of the initially estimated fee range. In the event that the work is more complex than at first thought, we may need to review the fee range with you, before proceeding any further.

    This occurs infrequently. More often than not, any work involved with implementation of the idea expressed in the report will usually be covered by the initial estimated fee.

  • Once my plan is put in place, am I then left to my own devices?

    We have an ongoing service program that offers regular meetings; legislative updates (around social security, tax and superannuation) as they apply to your circumstance, scheduled review of your estate plan, in this meeting we adjust investment portfolios based on their performances.

    This service includes ongoing analysis indicating whether you are off course or on course to achieving your financial objectives and putting in place appropriate strategies, if found to be off course.

    We provide a general sounding board for issues that arise for you ideally giving valuable and effective feedback based on the experiences of other clients we  have worked with over the last 30 years.

  • How do I pay for financial advice?

    We use a fee-based service, which includes a charge for preparing and implementing the initial advice. We also have a program for ongoing service with our clients to ensure goals are met and financial headwinds averted. This service has an ongoing annual fee.

    All costs will be discussed with you prior to advice being provided and will be shown in your statement of advice.

    There are a number of Payment options, which we can discuss. Two examples could be paying directly to RetireInvest or alternatively, deducted from a financial product.

  • What Questions do I need to ask of my Financial Planner?

    As sourced from ASIC:

    • What are your qualifications? How long did it take you to get them?
    • Are you authorised to provide advice on the products you are recommending to me?
    • What is your experience as a financial adviser?
    • Are you a member of any industry associations and / or professional bodies?
    • How do you keep up to date with changes that might affect your clients?
    • How are my investments monitored, and what information will I receive?
    • How are you paid? How much is your advice likely to cost? Can you give me a breakdown of the costs?
    • What are the risks of this investment in the short or long term?
    • How is this investment consistent with my goals?

Find out how RetireInvest Financial Planning can help you build wealth and achieve your desired financial future, talk to us today – (02) 9241 3733