Roping in the pros

Carina Jooste Latest, Retire

A qualified financial advisor can provide valuable support, insight, and guidance when it comes to your retirement savings journey. But great care needs to be taken when selecting the right individual, as the wrong fit can cost you dearly. So if you prefer to rope in the expertise of a professional, we’ve taken the liberty to list a couple of tips and important considerations that you should keep in mind when choosing a financial advisor.

Ask family and friends for a recommendation

Recommendations from family and friends are always a good place to start. The Fat Wallet Community on Facebook can also be a good source of information. And remember, you don’t have to settle on someone you’re not 100% sure of. Rather take the time to find the right fit.

Check credentials

Sidestep the cowboys and use advisors regulated by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA).

How will you benefit from their services?

Are you needing a long-term strategy to get you going in your early twenties? Or do you require support in assessing and altering your current retirement savings strategy and goals in your late thirties? Perhaps you’ve reached retirement age and now you need guidance on where to invest your savings to provide a steady income?

Whatever the type of service and support you expect from your financial advisor, they might be your go-to person for a very long time. That’s why it’s crucial to find someone you trust, get along with and whose investment philosophy you share.

How often will you meet?

Depending on the type of service or support you require, be sure to discuss how often you’d like to meet with your advisor – and use those meetings to review your investments’ performance with a critical eye. You can also request your statements prior to the meeting to prepare any questions in advance. Remember, when it comes to your hard-earned cash, there is no such thing as a stupid question.

Bring your entire financial-self (and baggage) to the table

Financial advisors can offer advice that goes beyond investing – they can also provide support with regard to your entire money ecosystem. It’s therefore important to also enquire about the services they offer before settling on an advisor. So should you require guidance, for example, on how to strike a good balance between debt repayments and investing, which insurance products you should have, or the ideal product to keep your discretionary savings in good nick, your advisor can provide the insight you might need to make better financial decisions overall.

Are they independent?

Many financial service providers (FSP) offer the services of an in-house financial advisor. These individuals can be a great resource for helping you understand the products they have available, but your options will be limited to what the company offers – and it might not be the right fit. More importantly, the commission they earn on selling you a certain product can take a massive bite out of your savings. Rather opt for an independent advisor who works with several financial product providers. Because when it comes to saving for retirement, one-size-doesn’t-fit-all. You need a plan and products that best suit your unique goals and needs.

On remuneration

An independent advisor will offer you a choice between paying upfront for their advice, by the hour, by the plan, or through a retainer agreement. Do keep in mind that financial planning is a long-term process – times change and with that your lifestyle and economic situation, warranting regular check-ins with your advisor.

More questions to ask during your selection process

  • What type of clients do they have on their books? (And can you see yourself amongst them?)
  • Do they have any account minimums?
  • What’s their investment philosophy? (And do you agree with it?)
  • What type of information do you need to provide when you first meet?

Retire blog

Saving for retirement is the biggest investment most of us will ever make. Sadly, it can also be very complicated. In this monthly blog, Carina Jooste responds to common retirement questions, ranging from which products are best suited to different circumstances to efficient tax treatments.