6 February 2024
While many Brighter Super members recognise the need for specialist advice to improve their financial position, comparatively few make the effort to see a professional financial adviser. Quite often the reason for this is a fear of the unknown – what am I getting myself into?
We asked Brighter Super Financial Adviser, Gabrielle Williams, to help take some of the mystery out of financial planning and give members a better picture of what happens when you meet with her or another member of the Brighter Super advice team1.
Gabrielle is a Certified Financial Planner with a Bachelor of Commerce and an Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning.
With over 15 years’ financial planning experience across a variety of roles including paraplanning, technical support and advising, Gabrielle is well equipped to advise members on investing, tax, Centrelink, estate planning, insurances and, of course, superannuation.
I’ve always been good with numbers and problem solving, so leaned towards a career in financial services. But just as importantly, I liked the idea of being able to help people become financially comfortable, particularly in retirement.
I get tremendous satisfaction when a member says to me that I’ve helped them feel more confident about retirement and less stressed throughout the planning process.
I have a genuine interest in my clients’ welfare and want to make a difference in their lives – not just their financial situation but also their level of comfort and peace of mind.
I’m especially passionate about advising on superannuation because, while it’s an excellent tool for saving for retirement, the many and ever-changing rules can make managing it seem daunting.
I aim to provide advice that is easy to understand and allows members to enjoy their retirement, instead of worrying about their super.
As a predominantly superannuation adviser, I usually help members who are at or near retirement because they have immediate needs around maximising their super balance and income, accessing Centrelink entitlements, and putting together a sensible budget for the years ahead.
Saying that, it can be a good idea for members to seek advice earlier if they can, because the more time they have to plan, the more they can take advantage of the various contribution and tax strategies available within superannuation.
I recently met with a couple who didn’t think they would have enough money for retirement but were in a position where they really had to retire, due to age and health issues.
I was able to help them take advantage of previously unused contribution caps in order to qualify for a significant tax deduction, as well as transfer money between the couple which would allow them to access more of the age pension in retirement.
In the end, there were smiles all round because the combination of tax savings, increased Centrelink benefits and topping up their Brighter Super Pension account, meant they would be able to achieve the comfortable retirement income they were after.
The first appointment is generally a fact-finding mission. We’ll cover a range of topics and gather a lot of information, so I find most appointments run for about 90 minutes.
We send out a questionnaire before the appointment, so if members have time to fill that out beforehand then it helps us prepare for the meeting and potentially reduces the appointment time.
We encourage members to bring along documents that are relevant to their current financial situation, for example payslips, details of non-superannuation investments like shares or an investment property, and any other income sources. Having a budget or at least a rough idea of their current and expected expenditure can also be very helpful.
Having said that, sometimes members don’t have time to prepare and that’s totally fine – we can run through it together in the appointment. And if we need more information before preparing formal advice, we’ll ask the member to provide exactly what’s needed.
We’ll also run through any relevant fees so the member will know the actual dollar amount they will be charged, and when. That way there are no surprises when they receive their financial plan.
For comprehensive advice, in many cases we can take the payment for the advice fee out of the member’s super account, depending on the nature of the advice.
If the member is preparing for retirement, then I want to get a really good idea of what they want to do in retirement and what sort of lifestyle they’re expecting.
So, in addition to working out an annual cost of living, I’ll ask them about those big-ticket items: Do you want to buy a caravan and travel around Australia? Do you want to take that bucket list holiday to Europe? Will you need a new car?
We will also delve into some things that the member might not have spent time thinking about, like their attitude to investment risk and who will inherit their assets. The aim is to gain a clear understanding of the member’s needs and goals so I can prepare strategic advice that will make a difference to their lifestyle and level of income in retirement.
Firstly, I would say that it’s not at all overwhelming and, despite what some people may think, a financial planning appointment is not a ‘product flog’ or sales pitch. There is no obligation to proceed to a formal financial plan, and no fees are payable until you have decided to proceed.
So, if you’re getting close to retirement, I think it’s worth your while to book an appointment and invest 90 minutes in the process.
If I can’t help with your particular situation, or if I don’t think financial advice is going to present good value for you, then I’ll let you know early on. But I think everyone who sits down with me or one of the team takes away at least one valuable piece of information. I’ve had plenty of people decide not to proceed with personal advice, for a variety of reasons, but almost everyone says that the appointment has been helpful.
At Brighter Super, we believe in ensuring our members have money when they need it most. We offer a range of advice services and can discuss the type of financial advice that would suit your personal situation, financial goals and budget.
The best way to learn about improving your personal situation today and in the years ahead is to talk to our friendly and experienced financial advice team. Depending on your needs and location, you can access our financial advice service over the phone, via secure video call, or in person.
Contact us to make an enquiry or book an appointment.
If you already have an external financial adviser, let them know they can register with us to access tools and resources – and a dedicated team – to help support their business.
LGIAsuper Trustee (ABN 94 085 088 484) (AFSL 230511) (the Trustee) as trustee for LGIAsuper (ABN 23 053 121 564) (RSE R1000160) (the Fund) trading as Brighter Super. Brighter Super products are issued by the Trustee on behalf of the Fund. Brighter Super may refer to the Trustee or LGIAsuper as the context may be. This article may contain general advice which does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. As such, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your own objectives, financial situation and needs prior to making any decision. You should consult a licensed financial advisor if you require advice which does take into account your personal financial circumstances. You should also obtain and consider the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before making any decision to acquire any products. A Target Market Determination (TMD) is a document that outlines the target market a product has been designed for. Find the PDSs and TMDs at brightersuper.com.au/pds-and-guides