Financial planning for beginners, where to start

Cara Brett 1 August 2015

It is a shame that most people in my generation either don’t truly understand what a financial planner does, or don’t think they need it. I am hoping that the tide is turning with this, and that one day it will be as commonly accepted as it is to open a bank account.

One of the main reasons I started Bounce was to cater to the younger generation.


Most of the financial planning practices out there work with the older, pre-retiree crowd. What is important to them is completely different to what is important to 30 somethings. The difference is that the 50+ age category see it as almost mandatory to get an adviser yet the younger crowd don’t.

So, if you are thinking about getting a ‘financial plan’ together and want to know what you should be considering, then read on. If there is one thing I know about us GenY, it’s that we like to research as much as possible before we move ahead with something. Hopefully this article will give you a starting point.

Know where you are at now – If you intend on going to see a financial adviser, they are going to want you to show them your current financial situation, warts and all. Debts, expenses, how much you earn, what you do with your money, and any assets you have. Like anything, knowledge is power, so understanding where you are at is the first step. Don’t be ashamed, be open and honest. Prepare your super statements, insurance statements and income statements. Think about your expenses that you have and start collating that information. You don’t have to take every bill with you, but if you have an understanding as to what your yearly/monthly expenses are, you will get the best out of the meeting.  What about debts and assets? Make sure you have that information available too.

Think about what you want – Again, when meeting with a financial adviser they are going to talk about your goals. Do you want to buy a house? Invest? Have a holiday? Learn how to budget? Pay down debt? Protect yourself? Save for your children’s education? Everyone is different so there is no right or wrong, but thinking about it in advance will ensure that you get the most out of your adviser.

Seek out someone who caters for you – Like I said, there are many firms out there who cater to the pre-retiree crowd and will actually turn you away because you don’t fit into their target market. There are some firms who want you to have a certain amount of money before you see them and others who charge for an hour meeting, even if you don’t know what it is you are actually going to get. Do your research, read testimonials on the company and check the qualifications and licencing they have. In the first instance look for an ‘Authorised Representative’ who is licenced through an AFSL (Australian Financial Services Licencee). From there you can investigate what areas they give advice in.

Understand what they can and can’t do for you – All financial advisers MUST have a Financial Services Guide (FSG). This outlines what they are licenced to give advice on. If you are after Superannuation advice and the adviser isn’t licenced in that area, then maybe they aren’t the right one for you.

Show them what you know – I love it when I meet with someone who has come prepared and asks me a bunch of questions. It shows that they are interested and helps me to ensure that they get the most out of my time.

It’s never too early to decide to take control of your financial situation. In fact, the earlier you do it the easier it will be. Hopefully the above helps to get you in the right mind frame to start thinking about what you want out of life financially, and how you can achieve it.

The post is from our resident Financial Planner Cara Brett, check out her details in the About Us section.

Posted in: Cara Brett, and Financial Planning

About the author: Cara Brett

Cara Brett proudly heads up Bounce Financial - founded in 2014 after a successful, decade-long career in the financial services industry. Cara’s experience encompasses both the financial product and financial advice sides. This gives her a comprehensive and holistic knowledge of all facets of financial planning.