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 help?

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 partner.

Find out more about different types of financial advice and how an adviser can help you.

What to look for in a financial adviser

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 adviser.

Once you have a short list of advisers you can use ASIC's financial advisers register to check their employment history and other details.

Financial advisers register

The register tells you:

  • the adviser's qualifications, experience and employment history
  • 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 services
  • whether the adviser has been the subject of disciplinary action by ASIC
  • the name and number of the Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence holder who employs or authorises the financial adviser to provide advice
  • 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 with.

Case study: Claire meets a money mentor

" "After 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 security.

"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 money."

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 free.

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 your area.  

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.

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Last updated: 29 Jul 2016