The key difference between just getting by financially and really building financial independence is often down to the kind of help you get along the way. A professional financial planner can open up a whole range of opportunities, strategies and techniques that can truly transform your economic health. To get the ball rolling, here are seven key ways an expert can make a difference to your situation.

Helping you plan successfully
How do you define a financial plan? Is it running a tight budget? Or perhaps putting an investment portfolio together? Maybe it’s all about ensuring you have enough put aside for major life events such as a major illness, kids’ education or your retirement. The truth is that a really effective financial plan will cover all of these issues and so much more. A great financial plan will integrate into your entire financial life and help you set and achieve short, medium and long-term goals.

A financial planner can be the key to making sure that such a plan is comprehensive and relevant to your situation as possible because they have the planning tools, objectivity, research resources and financial know-how to set up and manage a plan that makes the most of all your resources.

Making sure you protect what matters
Most of us have some form of personal insurance, such as cover in superannuation or perhaps something bought via a direct mail or TV insurance offer that was meant to be “great value”. But do you know whether it really is adequate for your needs and if it is cost effective? The bottom line is that there is nothing more important in your financial planning than making sure your loved ones have all the protection they deserve. A professional financial planner will show you how to properly assess your cover needs, advise on the types of cover that will suit you best and research the most cost-effective cover with the best policy conditions and inclusions.

Making retirement dreams a reality
These days, planning retirement lifestyle and income is so much more than just plonking a set percentage of your income into super every week and collecting a cheque when you finish your working life. There are so many tax, social security, legislative and investment issues to consider and a professional adviser is ideally positioned to navigate you through all the complexity and help you structure your super to best target your retirement goals.

Successful business succession
If you run a business for yourself then chances are that your financial plan amounts to simply waiting until you are ready to give up the business and hope that you get a good sale price for it. A financial planner can help you take a step back and put concrete strategies in place to extract maximum value from your business. This includes ensuring a smooth and profitable transition if you are passing ownership on to family members or other partners, as well as planning superannuation and investment strategies that will build financial independence outside of the business itself.

Building your financial literacy
Your financial planner can play the role of a ‘financial coach’ who not only gives you the strategies and tactics for success, but works with you to equip you with the skills and techniques that give you the financial confidence and competence.

Assessing aged care options
Even in later stages of life, a financial planner can play a critical role within the family unit to ensure quality of life is protected and hard-fought financial independence is not squandered through poor decision making. Aged care is certainly a ‘big ticket’ aspect of your financial life and it is fraught with financial dangers if you are unfamiliar with the rules and under pressure to make quick decisions about care options and selling the family home. A financial planner can be a crucial ally in negotiating the best outcome for someone who needs to move into aged care and for the family around them who are trying to protect the integrity and value of the estate.

Planning your estate for a smooth transition
Many may think that estate planning is only something that the seriously wealthy need to worry about. The truth is that even those with the most modest of means have an estate that is worth preserving and passing on in the most financially efficient way possible. Navigating issues such as tax planning, disposal of assets upon death, properly setting up a will and formation of trusts to ensure that estate assets are not squandered, all takes a serious level of skill and knowledge that a financial planner is ideally placed to help coordinate. They can work with tax, accounting and legal professionals to ensure your estate is planned properly now, rather than having to react in a crisis situation.

What do you believe are the key reasons to engage the experts? Share your thoughts below. 

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