The profession of financial planning is relatively new in comparison to other crafts like law, accountancy and medicine. If you chat to your grandparents, they will tell you that in their youth financial planning was not even a recognisable term and access to financial advisors was the domain of the super-rich.
As the world settled down to growth and prosperity, insurance and investing became viable for the masses. Insurance companies literally knocked on doors to sell the merits of life policies and saving plans. Unfortunately little attention was paid to the financial circumstances of the individuals buying the policies and even less attention was paid to educating them in terms of understanding what they were buying.
The good news is as a result of legislation and stringent regulation Financial Planners have become trained professionals who practice appropriate financial planning.
Alan Ipp, MD of Springpoint Finance, which developed Verifi, an online tool to help people access their policy details says “Up until recently it was difficult for the man in the street to get access to his or her policy details. They either had to ask an advisor or contact each insurance company for schedules. Once in hand they had to try and analyse the jargon. This resulted in people giving up and or losing touch with their investments”. Ipp says, now that individuals can access all of their policy information on the VeriFi website; it gives them the ability to see exactly where they stand and the opportunity to have their financial situation assessed by a professional Financial Planner.
There are literally thousands of financial products to choose from and the process of identifying appropriate solutions is an almost impossible task without help from a professional.
A Financial Planner can guide an individual in terms of choosing the correct products and strategy for their objectives but if they are not totally committed to a long term plan, no product in the world will perform the way it was designed to if it is cancelled or lapsed. It is also vital that individuals take the time to learn as much as they can about the money world and become a partner with their advisors.
Many people have lost touch with their portfolios and more often than not, their financial advisors. Ipp says that if this has happened, the policy holder will be able to track down their policies when they download the report from Verifi. He says “If you download the Verify report from our website you will automatically be called by a Financial Planner. It’s a great opportunity to finally get on track”.
A relationship with a Financial Planner is generally a long term one so it is important that investors are comfortable with the professionals they work with. There is no doubt that a good relationship is the key to a successful partnership.