Investing and getting advice
Make your money go a long way
You don't need a lot of money to start investing - some people
start with a small amount of savings they've built up, while others
invest regular amounts. The key is to start and then keep adding to
your investments as you can. A qualified financial adviser can help
you make your money go further.
It is important to be aware that investments can go down as well
as up in value. It's also important to understand what you're investing
in as well as some key concepts like risk and
return and diversification.
Remember - don't put all your eggs in one basket and, in
general, the higher the earnings or return you expect from an
investment, the more risky it will be. Investments that offer lower
returns are generally less risky.
How can a financial adviser
A financial adviser can offer information on a range of money
matters, from personal budgeting and investing, to planning for
retirement and protecting your assets with appropriate insurance
cover. They can also help work through your finances if you have
received an inheritance, are recently divorced, or have just lost a
Find out more about different types of financial advice and
how an adviser can help you.
What to look for in a financial
By law, licensed financial advisers are required to consider
your goals, needs and circumstances when they make any
recommendations to you.
Look for a financial adviser that has experience with your
particular needs or circumstances. Read our tips on how to choose a financial
Once you have a short list of advisers you can use ASIC's
financial advisers register to check their employment history and
Make the right decision about a financial adviser.
Financial advisers register
The register tells you:
- the adviser's qualifications, experience and employment
- what product areas the adviser can provide advice about (check
that these are the areas you're looking for)
- whether the adviser is a member of any professional bodies or
industry associations that are relevant to providing financial
- whether the adviser has been the subject of disciplinary action
- the name and number of the Australian Financial Services (AFS)
licence holder who employs or authorises the financial adviser to
- details about who owns or controls the licence holder.
Fees and charges
Financial advisers can be paid in different ways. They can:
- Charge a direct, time-based consultation fee for service
- Charge an asset based fee which is a percentage of the amount
you invest through them
In practice, many financial advisers ask for a combination of
the above. That can make it tricky to shop around for the best
price. However, licensed financial advisers are required to make it
clear to you upfront how they charge for their service. Find out
more about financial advice costs.
Achieving financial security is a long-term process so it's
worth taking the time to find an adviser you feel comfortable
Case study: Claire meets a money mentor
she completed university, Claire, 25, was enjoying a decent income
for the first time in her life. But she was also spending a lot and
starting to rack up an unhealthy level of debt. With the help of
her financial adviser, she's now on track to achieve financial
"When I first started working, I guess I just let my hair down
and enjoyed the good life a bit too much. It wasn't until my dad
asked me if I was managing to put some money away that I realised
all I had to show for a few years in the workforce was an
impressive shoe collection."
"That was when I first got in touch with a financial adviser. My
adviser Christine was recommended through a family friend and is
genuinely interested in helping me make the most of my money. She
showed me how to live within a budget and pay off my debts so that
I'm not paying interest charges. Then she helped me put a savings
plan in place and I've managed to build a small investment
portfolio, which I'll use to buy an apartment of my own in a few
years. Having Christine has helped me stay on track with my
How a financial
counsellor can help
Unlike financial advisers, financial counsellors offer help if
you are struggling with your money problems, and do it for
If you're having trouble making ends meet, or your debts are
spiralling out of control, a financial counsellor can help you get
back on your feet.
Many community organisations provide a free or low cost financial
counselling service. Centrelink has a free Financial Information
Service (FIS) that can tell you if you are entitled to any
benefits, especially if your circumstances have changed. It can
also refer you to financial counsellors and welfare agencies in
Avoid money sharks
Be very careful who you approach for advice about money. Anyone
who promises an instant result or extremely high returns on an
investment could be trying to rip you off. In the past, some investment
scams have involved crooks fraudulently taking money from their
friends or family. Knowing the person who offers you help is no
guarantee that your money will be safe.
Investing your money can help secure your
financial future. If you are thinking of seeing a financial
adviser, always look for a reputable, qualified person to help you,
and only deal with someone you feel comfortable with.
Last updated: 15 Feb 2017