swan hill accountants

Financial Planning

The crucial step in securing your financial wellbeing, now and into the future.

For most people, the concept of financial planning extends no further than the implementation of a fortnightly or monthly budget centred around balancing income against expenses. Such an approach (whilst beneficial in the short-term) does little to develop a long-term financial position that benefits you, your family, your business, and your eventual retirement. Such objectives require the considered, comprehensive and strategic thinking skills of a financial planning expert. With this in mind, we’ve outlined the what, when and why of financial planning, how the financial planning process works and where you can go to find the right financial planner for you.

The current climate of rising inflation and interest rates has created a situation for many people where they feel compelled to focus on their immediate financial viability at the expense of their long-term financial wellbeing. On the face of it, this makes sense; meeting your financial obligations whilst minimising the accrual of ‘bad debt’ keeps you, your family and your business afloat. But keeping afloat in itself isn’t enough to secure your financial wellbeing: a state of financial security that allows you to worry less about money which in turn has positive effects on your overall health, your quality of life and the quality of your relationships. For this reason, contracting an expert team of financial advisors to develop a long-term financial plan is an essential part of taking control of your financial future.


What is financial planning?

Financial planning is a comprehensive planning process focused on the development and implementation of strategies to manage your financial affairs and achieve your life goals. These goals are as unique as you are and can range in complexity from something as straightforward as planning for an overseas trip to establishing an investment portfolio and planning for retirement.


Why is financial planning important?

It’s here that many people make the initial mistakes of either thinking they don’t need financial advice and/or thinking they can do it themselves.

In terms of need, financial advice is not just for the wealthy, it is designed to help people regardless of their financial position to devise and implement wealth creation strategies.

As for taking the DIY approach, doing so without the right amount of time, patience and experience would be like starting an agricultural enterprise with little-to-no knowledge, skill and expertise of your land, crop or livestock.


How does financial planning work?

The process of financial planning essentially involves the following steps:

  • Introductory meeting – during your initial consultation you will be asked what your financial goals are. As stated above these can be almost anything. An experienced financial adviser will encourage you to focus on goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and targeted. Think carefully about what these may be for you prior to your first appointment as this question will definitely be asked.
  • Financial review and research – following confirmation of the goals you have identified, your financial advisor will conduct a thorough overview of your finances, reviewing all aspects of your budget, savings and cash flow, superannuation, tax and investments. You will likely be provided with a list of required financial documents so take the time to provide as much information as possible.
  • Financial plan development and presentation – once this review is complete, your advisor will begin drafting a financial plan that balances a range of investment recommendations against your goals, lifestyle and circumstances. Once finalised, your plan will be presented to you so take the time to understand its risks, benefits and limitations.
  • Implementation and ongoing support – assuming your financial plan meets your approval, your financial advisor will assist you in implementing it. Routine appointments and reporting will be scheduled to help monitor the progress of your plan and determine any adjustments that need to be made.


When should I start seeking financial advice?

The short answer is today. Time is a crucial factor in wealth creation so the more of it you have the better chance of realising the life goals you and your family aspire towards.

The kind of financial advice you might seek and goals you identify will largely depend on the stage of life you are in:

  • Young adulthood (ages 20-39): Here your goals are likely to be ones of establishment, starting your life’s journey be it with a professional, educational, business or familial focus.
  • Middle age (ages 40-50): Here your goals are likely to be focused on consolidation –
    where matters of investment, inheritance, tax management and healthcare need to be balanced in order to reinforce your existing lifestyle and long-term future.
  • Pre-retirement (ages 50-65): With retirement looming on the horizon, your focus will likely depend on the life circumstances you find yourself in and the level of prior financial planning you have put in. You may seek to maximise your superannuation position, minimise or eliminate debt, or establish a trust.
  • Retirement (ages 65 +): With your working life behind you, this is the time to enjoy the fruits of your planning. Financial planning at this stage will likely involve aged care planning, family inheritance, finalising of wills and estate planning.

How can I find the financial planner I need?

Here again is where time is important. Whilst the financial planning industry has undergone many changes for the better in terms of regulation, oversight and ethical practices, it is still crucial to find a professional financial planner who is able to act in your best interests because they have taken the time to understand you, your circumstances, your life goals.

A great place to start is to only consider financial planners with accreditation through The Financial Planning Association (FPA). The FPA is a professional body representing over 12,000 members. All members are bound by a code of ethics, must demonstrate a clear understanding of relevant legislation and regulation and regularly take part in professional development.

FPA accreditation and membership gives peace of mind that the professional you are partnering with has your best interest at heart.


Financial planning services at SG Advisory

SG Advisory Wealth is our financial planning service. We are authorised to provide financial services under SGN Financial Pty Ltds’ Australian Financial Services Licence. Our financial services guide can be downloaded here

All members of the SG Advisory Wealth team are members of the FPA, meaning we have the experience, professionalism and authorisation to provide you with the ethical advice and attention to detail you need to secure a solid financial future.

SG Advisory has offices in Echuca and Rochester in Northern Victoria and we also service Shepparton and Swan Hill. So why not book your initial appointment with SG Advisory today and start your journey towards long-term financial wellbeing.