Time and again, we hear and see headlines on the latest scams and the heart-breaking journeys of those ripped off. From a dodgy tradie to those cashing in on the bitcoin boom, scams can come in all shapes and sizes and are getting harder to recognise. Sometimes, it’s easy to sit back and judge when it’s not us involved and it seems ‘glaringly obvious.’ But for those who got ‘done over’ it’s very real and very painful.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) report that over $5 million per annum is lost to scams, but seeing that many are too ashamed or embarrassed to admit their error, the number is quite likely much higher than that!
So, where to turn?
When we have serious health problems, we head to the doctor or specialist. A serious legal issue means we call in the lawyers. We want someone with training, experience and qualifications to assist…, but Aussies, in particular, seem pretty happy to take financial advice from family and friends… or even the hot tip from the cabbie!
Professional advisers, however, are likely to have years of experience and training and can help size up investments in ways that our loved ones, just cant. We don’t want to get left behind with the latest buzz, but we also don’t want to be caught in the latest get-rich-quick scam iether.
Devoting years to study and having inside knowledge of investments and markets plus hours of ongoing education and professional development, can mean a bonus for you. A good adviser is a steady hand at the tiller and the calm voice during the storm that can help you stay on track and naviagate the good and bad times.
Planners develop investment strategies based around your personal timesframs and financial goals and help you assess the risk and the return. They’re the ones who help guarantee a good night’s sleep instead of staring at the ceiling and worrying.
Advisers now are on an ASIC register so you can check them out: Financial Advisers Register. You can find who they’re licenced through, what they can advise on , their qualifications and training and if any disciplinary actions have been taken against them.
To find out what others think of your adviser or leave feedback yourself, you can now also head to Adviser Ratings to see feedback from both clients and colleagues. There’s lots of research you can do before getting advice so ensure you interview a few to find the best fit for you.
Your finances will be glad you did!