Identifying your financial advice needs

Do you need financial advice?

You may have avoided getting financial advice because you're not sure how a financial adviser can help you. You may also think you'll have to pay for a comprehensive and expensive financial plan. Depending on the kind of advice you need, you may not.

This page explains the things an adviser can help you with, and it suggests some places you can get free or low cost factual information about different financial products and strategies.

When a financial adviser can help

Don't think an adviser will make you a millionaire through a secret formula or a magic ability to pick winning investments. Advisers mostly add value by helping you sort out your financial goals and working with you to develop a plan to achieve them over time.

Smart tip

If you need financial advice because you're having trouble paying your bills or need to sort out your debts, see a financial counsellor first.

Most importantly, working with an adviser will help you turn thought into action, especially if you tend to put things off.

Understand the financial advice process before you make a decision.

Financial advice toolkit

Advice is helpful in times of change

Professional advice is most valuable when you're going through a big life event like starting a family, being retrenched or managing an inheritance. It's also great for less immediate goals like growing your super or planning for retirement.

The type of advice you need will depend on your life stage, the amount of money you have to invest and the complexity of your affairs. See types of financial advice for more information.

Video: Rhonda prepares before she seeks financial advice

Video about getting financial advice.

In this video Rhonda explains how she uses MoneySmart tools to sort through her finances before she sees a financial planner.

When a financial adviser is not needed

Not every situation calls for comprehensive, ongoing financial advice. Instead of financial advice, you may simply want factual information about different investment products and strategies or need to understand more about financial services generally.

Here are some places where you can get that kind of information.


ASIC's MoneySmart website can help you with many of your simpler financial needs. Here are some other websites that can also help you with your questions:

  • The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) - they have an education section on their website
  • The Financial Planning Association (FPA) - has a blog and an Ask an Expert forum
  • Financial columns and blogs

Banks, credit unions or building societies

Bank, credit union and building society staff can be a good source of free factual information about ways to save such as savings accounts and term deposits. This might be all the information you need if your main financial goal is saving for a home or building a savings buffer.

Remember to shop around and compare products. See saving and banking for more information.

Use our savings calculator to set up a plan to reach your savings goals.

Savings goals calculator

Your super fund 

Your super fund can provide factual information, including:

  • Investment options within your current fund
  • Saving for retirement
  • How to make extra contributions to your current fund
  • Consolidating multiple super funds
  • Insurance options with your current fund

See our superannuation section for more information.

Our superannuation calculators also help you explore better ways to meet your retirement goals.

Find out how much money you'll have to put away now for your retirement.

Retirement planner

There are two ways to make extra contributions to super to boost your retirement:

  • salary sacrifice which helps mid to high income earners save tax
  • after tax which may entitle low income earners to a government co-contribution

Work out the best way to grow your nest egg.

Super contributions optimiser


The Department of Human Services' Financial Information Service offers free money seminars all over Australia. Topics include:

  • Managing your money
  • Reducing your mortgage
  • Investing
  • Understanding superannuation

 See seminars for more information.

Case study: Jim's super idea

Senior man on phone with superannuation company regarding financial advice'I've been in the same super fund for 10 years but I'm only just starting to think about whether I'll have enough money to retire. I phoned my fund to see if they could help. They told me they hold regular seminars, have online information about retirement or if I want they can refer me to a financial adviser. I wish I'd contacted them for help years ago.'

There are times when you can manage your own financial decisions. At other times it's reassuring to be able to consult a professional. Once you pinpoint your reasons for wanting to use an adviser, choosing an adviser will be easier.

Related links

Last updated: 25 Sep 2018