5 things to consider when choosing a financial adviser

25 August 2022

From home projects and hobbies to travel plans, each person’s retirement bucket list is different. Achieving the post-work lifestyle you want starts with understanding your options and getting the right advice.

Getting expert financial advice now can help you define what’s important to you, plan for retirement, and have some peace of mind about your future.


Your future is personal – your plan should be too

Everyone’s financial situation is unique. Advice that may be right for one person may not work for someone else. Whether you have some basic questions, or you need a detailed, tailored plan, it’s important to get advice that’s based on your circumstances.


Simple personal advice

Johanna is a project manager and wants to add a little extra to her super before retirement. She has some questions about how she can do this and how much extra she should contribute.

For simple super-related help and advice like this, Johanna can use AustralianSuper’s online superannuation calculators. She can also call 1300 300 273 and arrange to speak with someone from the phone-based advice team. AustralianSuper members generally don’t need to pay for simple, over-the-phone advice1.

Comprehensive personal advice

Gerry works in risk management and plans to retire in 12 months. However, he isn’t sure how his investment property and his wife’s disability pension will affect their Centrelink entitlements.

As Gerry’s needs are more complex, he’ll likely benefit from comprehensive advice. He can engage a financial adviser to develop a detailed and personalised financial plan to help him achieve his best possible financial future.

If you’re starting to make some big decisions about retirement or want to be sure you’re taking steps in the right direction, tailored financial advice may help. It can provide much-needed clarity about your future and what position you’ll be in financially. Depending on the type of support you need, you might be able to pay for super advice out of your super balance, so you won’t be out of pocket. Discover what to consider when choosing a financial adviser.


1. Know when to ask for financial help and advice

For many people, approaching retirement is a key time to seek financial advice. That’s because understanding your options before you stop working may give you more time to action any advice and achieve a better outcome.

One of the potential options you have includes opening an account based pension. This can help give you a regular income once you retire. Another option is to use a transition to retirement (TTR) strategy2 to supplement your income while you’re still working. In some instances, these options may help you take advantage of tax breaks to keep building your super.

For some, a significant change in personal circumstances inspires a need for help and advice. Perhaps a retiring colleague prompts you to start thinking about your future. Maybe it’s a big life event, such as downsizing, separating from your partner, receiving an inheritance or selling a business.

It could simply be that you reach preservation age, which is when you can access your super if you are retired (or start a transition to retirement income stream). It’s never too early or too late, and no super balance is too big or small to benefit from financial advice.



2. Understand a financial adviser’s qualifications, reputation and fees

A professional financial adviser should be up to date with the latest changes in financial products and legislation. To make sure you find a knowledgeable financial adviser, you should:

  • Ask the financial adviser about their qualifications and experience.
  • Find out the areas of advice they specialise in and what sort of advice they’re able to offer you. For example, only certain financial advisers can give advice about self-managed super funds (SMSFs) or share trading.
  • Consider your own personal preferences, such as if you’d rather speak with an adviser of a specific gender or age.
  • Ask how their service works. For instance, whether they offer once-off or ongoing advice.
  • Request an outline of their fees and if they’ll provide a quote for the advice before completing any work. It’s also a good idea to ask how they’re paid – whether they’re salary-based, fee-for-service, or incentivised by bonuses.

You can also check a financial adviser’s qualifications, training, and experience on the Australian Government’s Moneysmart Financial Advisers Register


3. Find the right financial adviser for your needs

Connecting with a financial adviser works like any relationship – trust is key. You want to be comfortable with the person you’re meeting with and be confident in the future they’re helping you plan for.

Asking friends or colleagues for a referral can be a good starting point. Or you could attend an education session hosted by a financial adviser. This can be a great way to see how someone presents themselves before you make an appointment.


4. Prepare before your first meeting

First, make sure you have an overall idea of what you want to get out of the meeting and what’s important to you. If you’re approaching retirement age, you might want to continue working part-time for a while to ease into the next stage of your life. Or perhaps you’re ready to retire for good and need to put a financial plan together.

Next, think about some specific topics or issues you need a hand with. Maybe you want to invest your super in a certain way but aren’t sure where to start. Or you might want to make sure your super goes to the right person when you die. Perhaps you're considering retirement income options, managing debt or looking to downsize your family home. Whatever it is you want to learn more about, it can be helpful to prepare your questions before the meeting.

If you’re married or in a de facto relationship, it’s important to seek financial advice as a couple and plan together.


Your pre-appointment checklist

When you go to your first meeting with an adviser, make sure you take a few important personal financial details with you. This includes your:

  • Budget – an estimate of your monthly spend on mortgage or rent, bills, expenses and debt.
  • Income – including any wages you earn and money from investments, Centrelink payments or overseas pensions.
  • Assets – including property, super, savings and investments.
  • Insurance – details of any life, disability or income protection insurance.


5. Work with your financial adviser to make sure you’re getting the right advice

Once you’ve found a financial adviser you trust and want to work with, it can take a few sessions to prepare your plan and put it into action.

Your first meeting with an adviser is a chance for you to both get to know each other. You’ll find out more about how they’ll work with you and provide advice. It’s also an opportunity for you to share your personal circumstances, financial concerns, and plans for retirement.

From that first meeting, your adviser will generally prepare your personal financial plan, present their recommendations to you and work through any questions or changes you have.

Once you’re happy with the plan, your adviser will work with you to put the advice into action. Remember, your financial plan isn’t ‘set and forget’. It’s a good idea to regularly review your plan with your adviser and let them know if your circumstances change.



Getting started 

AustralianSuper makes it easy to find and work with a professional financial adviser. You can meet with an adviser over the phone, face to face, or via secure video link from the comfort of your home.

If you’re ready to start working on your retirement goals with a financial adviser, we’re ready to help you find one.


Find a financial adviser now



  1. Personal financial product advice is provided under the Australian Financial Services Licence held by a third party and not by AustralianSuper Pty Ltd. Some personal advice may attract a fee, which would be outlined before any work is completed and is subject to your agreement. With your approval, the fee for advice relating to your AustralianSuper account(s) can be deducted from your AustralianSuper account.
  2. Transition to Retirement (TTR) can be complex and isn’t suited to everyone. It’s a good idea to get financial advice before deciding if a TTR Income account is right for you.

This information may be general financial advice which doesn’t take into account your personal objectives, situation or needs. Before making a decision about AustralianSuper, you should think about your financial requirements and refer to the relevant Product Disclosure Statement. A Target Market Determination (TMD) is a document that outlines the target market a product has been designed for. Find the TMDs at australiansuper.com/TMD.

AustralianSuper Pty Ltd ABN 94 006 457 987, AFSL 233788, Trustee of AustralianSuper ABN 65 714 394 898.

Ready to open a Choice Income account?

Joining online will take you less than 15 minutes.

Join now
Back to top