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Big change has arrived

Big change has arrived

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This week is a monumental time in my financial planning career, so today, I would like to show you, based on my own practice, why receiving advice from an unaligned practice is so very important when choosing an adviser or a planner you wish to work with.  

Financial planning has changed and evolved dramatically over the 20 years of my career.  Those 20 years have gone by in a blink of an eye. But let’s be honest, no books, no university, no courses will ever replace professional long-term experience. 

When I started my career over 20 years ago, financial planning didn’t really exist, it was a brand-new industry, and banks jumped on the wagon seeing this as a form of a great financial profit, influence over their clients’ financial decisions, and the way to do cross-selling between departments, hence making more money out of the same people. 

Hard sale of products started. Those were only products of a particular bank and I remember well back then, all responsibility of the financial adviser was to the product provider, so an employer, and not to the consumer, meaning the client.  

If you are in your 50s or 60s you might remember those days, but if you are younger, you might open your eyes in disbelieve, but as I said, it was a beginning of a very new industry and we all had to learn.  

The truth of a matter is that even though as a financial adviser, I was introduced to, what you might call “sale regime” created by those banks, deep down in my heart I strongly believed in the benefit of the advice, creating wealth and security for clients, and helping them with resolving whatever financial problem they had. 

OK we were limited with product choices, some of those products were pretty overpriced, but back then that’s all we had, that’s all that was available.  

Just like every other person that is hungry to learn, to experience more, to deepen knowledge and become a real professional and a specialist, I changed places of my employment many times from those original banks, through trustee offices. 

Those were great places to work with lawyers to fully understand Estate Planning not only from finance standpoint, but from the legal perspective as well – so since that time, Estate Planning is one of my little niches and specialties that integrates perfectly with Retirement Planning.  

Then I decided it was time to move to a private sector and more of a boutique practice, which also gave me an incredible inside knowledge into running a small business, which is an entirely separate set of financial problems and decisions and skills required to run a successful entity.   

The reason I am explaining this is for you, so you can see the variety of experiences that one has to go through to get to the point of fully understanding this profession, not only from the point of a client, but from the point of law, rules, ethics, responsibility, empathy, humanity and financial benefit for both parties.  

So over those 20 odd years financial planning has changed from the industry to a real profession that it is today. I cannot be more proud to have been a part of it and I am very excited to see where we are going and how invaluable the service of this profession has become.  

But, there is always a but….. some organisations just don’t learn, and only now we start openly talking about it and seeing the real face of a corporate greed, deception, corruption, and cover-ups.  

Just watch daily news about bank after bank being taken to courts by ASIC, if it is not banks then the same issues are with big investment companies, with super funds.  

So the corporate world is not changing and they keep repeating the same mistakes over and over.  

But what has changed, and that is a radical change, is financial planning in private hands. Small business people, who run their own little practice somewhere in the suburbs, that not only are great in what they do, but they really want to help, want to look after and support their clients for many, many years.  

Believe me, a good financial planner deeply cares about their clients and their success.  

And that, finally takes me to the first statement of this video: this week is a monumental time in my financial planning career.  

After 16 years of employment for different companies and practices, 7 years of running my own business but with a license from another organisations (not align with any financial institution – that was my requirement right from the start of running my own practice), I finally decided to apply for my own license. 

And now I am so very excited to confirm that my application was accepted by ASIC and our own licence was granted to my practice on 11 November 2021 – talking about taking it slow.  

What took me over 20 years, young financial planners do in few short years, that’s how this profession changed. 

So how is that different to speak to a financial planner like myself that is self-licenced, as opposed to a planner who is working for an organisation or external licensee?  

Well,… when I speak with you, you can be sure that the only person I care about and want to help is you. I have no association or affiliation with any financial institution or any product provider.  

So there is no incentive for me as an adviser to convince you about any particular products, which is the case when you speak with an adviser employed by a particular company or a particular super fund.  

And now with my own license, I took that advice even a step further, where my advice to you is also not restricted or structured by a license provider.  

That is a huge benefit for the client, as the only parties in this equation are you and me. My advice to you is only restricted by you, as my client. There is no external factor (apart from the legislation, rules, and regulations that we both need to obey of course). 

You as a client set the scope of the advice, you decide how restricted the advice is to be, you decide what research you want me to prepare. It is all in your hands and in your control.  

Obviously based on our meeting conversation, I will suggest what options would bring you the best benefit and the best outcome, I will explain what work is involved, how much time would be needed, and cost associated with providing you with this advice. 

A client is the only person that remunerates my practice for the work done and support provided. So in one word, the advice can be as comprehensive or as narrow as you need it to be at the time.  

I have many clients whom I’ve had a pleasure and privilege to assist for almost 20 years. And what started as a planner/client relationship, over the years developed to a relationship that is so much more meaningful. 

I get to know people, their families, their problems and happiness and in a small way I become part of my client’s life.  

It gives me a great deal of joy, excitement and appreciation when I see the outcome of my work, when I see my clients feeling secure about their future, when they know their dreams can be fulfilled and when I see a beautiful, trusting smile on their faces when we meet. 

This is priceless to me. And that’s what financial planning is all about. Yes, I work with numbers, yes I can advise you on the best financial strategies, how to reduce tax, how to save better in super, outside of super, how to save for kids, grandkids, how to pass your assets safely to the next generation or whoever you want, how to choose investments and everything in between.  

But what it really comes down to, and what is the most amazing about this service, is to see how appropriate planning can help to create a life of security, fulfilled dreams and joy.  

And I am thrilled that through my work, knowledge and experience I can be part of this creation and a small part of my clients’ lives. 

I wish you all the best 😊 

By: Katherine Isbrandt CFP®
Money Strategist & Retirement Planner
Principal of About Retirement

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