What does the term "Financial Planning" mean to you? Everyone seems to have a different take on just what financial planning entails and what Financial Planners actually do. This is actually quite logical, as understanding money involves far more than understanding one single issue. Therefore, expect financial planners to vary considerably in what they do, how they do it, the scope of strategies they can utilise, which products (if any) they are allowed to use towards meeting your objectives, and the levels of fees and bias that you will encounter along the way.
The Federal Government regulator, ASIC, has invested a lot of money to provide broader knowledge on understanding money, including the role of financial planners. The website MoneySmart provides a raft of such information. It's a great place to start learning about financial planning - aside from this website, of course!
The Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) has a website providing information on what financial planners do, which standards members of the FPA must adhere to, and links to finding a Financial Planner near you.
There's more to this than meets the eye. I've been in the industry for nearly 30 years, and wouldn't consider myself proficient in much more than the occasional slice of the entire financial sector, so how does the non-financial person cope? Financial planners can help but at best, they are but a guide. You will only understand money by taking the effort to either learn or do. Having a financial planner looking over your shoulder during this process can be helpful but that is very much a case of finding someone that you are comfortable with, and taking the time to understand and discuss their particular attitudes, bias and preferences.
Over time, we will add links and stories to this site to cover more tools to help you understand money, financial planning, fees and bias - and how they impact on you.