This week I had a new client come in who has for many years looked after his family finances. He has done a great job of placing his super funds with the most appropriate product, ensured that the family had sufficient insurance to protect themselves in the event of any injury, illness or death and has been astute with the weekly cash flow. He had been able to get a budget from the Internet. He had also researched the superannuation and investment products available and learnt to trade the share market - all from information available from the Internet.
However when it come time to prepare their financial position for his retirement date of 5 years time, the Internet only provided confusion. Trying to work out how Centrelink assesses assets and income when calculating age pension entitlements became an arduous task and without this assessment, the amount of money needed to fund the family in retirement could not be ascertained. From speaking to his colleagues he understood that a plan of the steps was needed to position the finances to maximise Centrelink and minimise tax payable not one Internet site could explain these steps, let alone guide him through the steps. When asking his colleagues how they managed the transition to retirement, they referred him to their financial planner.
So I now find myself sitting in front of a new client to provide the strategic advice on pre-retirement planning. My first question to any new client is "How can I assist?" so imagine my joy in hearing the words "I need your help so I can retire like Bob because the Internet can't help. I have printed out pages and pages and I just don't understand it."
It is great to be reminded that good advice from a financial planner will never be replaced by a computer!