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Reach for your goals: take some advice

Personal Finance

Only 27 percent of South Africans believe they are knowledgeable about finance and financial matters, a Global Consumer Survey released by the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa (FPI), the professional body for South Africa’s financial planners with the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) accreditation, shows.

However, 74 percent of South Africans consider building a savings plan to be a top priority, the survey shows.

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Financial planning is the process of structuring and arranging your financial resources to meet your life goals.

The week ahead (September 5 to 9) is the FPI’s Financial Planning Week. It provides you with a unique opportunity to find out what financial planning is about and how it can benefit you.

Members of the FPI, together with the financial services industry, will be offering the public free financial planning consultations, lectures and financial literacy courses during the week. A number of financial planning practices are offering free initial consultations with clients if you book on certain days next week, legal firms are offering the free drawing up of wills, and some planners are giving talks for young people or financial literacy courses to gardeners and domestic workers.

Visit the FPI’s website, www.fpi.co.za, and look in the Events section under “Take Action” for details about planned events in areas in and around Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, East London and Trichardt.

 

THE FPI's 10 TIPS ON CHOOSING A FINANCIAL PLANNER

The Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa (FPI) has the following 10 tips for you if you are looking for a planner to help you with your finances and investments:

1. Be prepared. Do some research to familiarise yourself with financial planning terms and strategies. While a good financial planner will explain things to you, understanding the basics will allow you to engage more.

2. Think about your financial and personal goals. Financial planning is about putting the right strategies in place to meet your life goals. Take the time to reflect on what’s most important to you for both today and tomorrow.

3. Ask for referrals. Ask friends and family members you trust if they know of or have worked with financial planners they would recommend.

4. Verify the financial planner’s credentials. Get referrals from sources you trust, but also verify the credentials of any financial planner with a professional body, such as the FPI, to confirm that he or she is in good standing.

5. Interview more than one financial planner. Interview two or three planners, either by phone or in person, about their qualifications, experience, areas of expertise, their approach to clients, and their personality.

6. Understand planners’ fee structures. Understand how your financial planner will be paid, as they are compensated in a variety of ways (for example, through commission, fee-only, or salary).

7. Look for competence and ethics. Planners have a variety of different designations. Some designations require only day or weekend courses to qualify. Others, such as the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification, represent high standards of experience, competence and knowledge, as well as on-going adherence to a code of ethics and professional responsibility.

8. Get it in writing. Insist on a written letter (an engagement letter) outlining the terms of the engagement, any potential conflicts of interest, how the planner will be paid and his or her business affiliations.

9. Re-assess the relationship regularly. Regular communication is imperative. Make sure your planner understands your needs as they change over time and updates your financial plan accordingly.

10. It’s all about trust. If you don’t feel comfortable discussing personal issues with a particular financial planner, continue your search. Honesty, trust and communication (on both sides) are crucial to the success of your planning relationship.

 

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