Types of financial advice

Finding the right financial advice for you

The type of financial advice you need will depend on your stage of life, the amount of money you have to invest and what you are trying to achieve. This page explains your financial advice options.

General financial advice

General advice does not take into account your particular circumstances, such as your objectives, financial situation and needs. For example, if an adviser gives you information about a product that might be suitable for you, but does not take into account your overall financial goals or actually recommend you take up the product, it is general advice.

You can get general advice about financial products or investments from someone who holds or works for a company that has an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL).

Case study: Kathy and Joe get general advice from their super fund

senior-slavic-couple-looking-at-laptop.jpgKathy and her husband bought a new house so they decided to check if the life insurance and income protection insurance they had through their super funds were enough to cover the mortgage repayments if either of them died or couldn't work anymore. When Kathy and her husband called their super funds they were told they could only be given general advice. They were given information about the features of their insurance products and their current level of cover. They were advised to consider all their debts and expenses, not just their mortgage repayments. Kathy and Joe realised they needed to have a closer look at their finances to work out the level of insurance cover they needed.

 Personal financial advice

If you want a recommendation that takes your personal situation into account, you need personal advice.

For this kind of advice, it's important that you only talk to someone who is a licensed adviser. See choosing a financial adviser for more information on how to find a licensed adviser.

The cost of the advice will depend on the scope and kind of advice you receive. For more information, see financial advice costs.

Types of personal advice 

There are different types of personal financial advice that you can get from an adviser:

  • Simple, single issue advice - This addresses a particular aspect of your finances, for example, the best way to make personal super contributions. It's not comprehensive advice. You may be able to work out some of these simple issues for yourself, for example, you could use our super contributions optimiser to work out the best way to make personal super contributions.
  • Comprehensive financial advice - This is about developing a comprehensive financial plan to help you set and achieve financial goals. It will cover things like savinginvestments, insurance and superannuation and retirement planning. This sort of plan should be monitored and adjusted over time.
  • Ongoing advice - This is where your adviser will monitor and review your financial plan on a regular basis to help you manage your financial affairs. The frequency of reviews and how you pay for them should be mutually agreed between you and the adviser when you first establish a relationship. Find out exactly what your ongoing fees cover.

See financial advice costs for more information about ongoing advice fees.

Different ways to get advice 

The way you get advice may depend on your needs, practical considerations and how comfortable you are with various advice methods:

  • Face-to-face advice - suitable for holistic advice or more complex issues, where it is practical to meet with an adviser
  • Phone-based advice - suitable for single issue personal advice or general advice, often in conjunction with a follow up email or letter
  • Video chat or conferencing - allows people in rural and remote areas or those who have difficulty travelling, to receive face-to-face advice on a broader range of issues
  • Robo-advice - advice delivered online via computer, tablet or smartphone, using technology in place of a human financial adviser.

There are many ways to access financial advice, whether you want it on an ad hoc basis or whether you want to develop an ongoing relationship with an adviser. Consider your advice needs and what you are prepared to pay to help you work out the best option for you.

Related links

Last updated: 05 Oct 2016