17 Aug 2021

Google vs Advice

Google vs Advice

We’ve all used Dr Google at some point in time, and have been suitably horrified at the results – so, should we be doing the same with our finances?

Online searches for “financial advice” by Australians increased by 18% last year in average monthly searches compared to 2019 (according to Allan Gray research) however, the margin for inaccurate or misguided information is huge.

One of the most substantial decisions we have in life is how we manage our finances. This will directly impact on our future, our security, the life we can give our children – all relying heavily on a search engine and an algorithm no one quite understands. Yes, there is a fee attached to professional advice, but not receiving this personalised advice on arguably some of the most significant decisions in your life, could cost you much much more in erroneous google search results.

Whilst having a plethora of information at our instant disposal is convenient in many situations, it also presents information overwhelm and whilst great at answering a specific question there are wider consequences that are essential to be examined when considering your whole financial life plan for the next 10, 20, 30 years….

Deciding whether to work with a financial adviser or manage your own financial future is an important commitment. Properly managing your investments and making the right financial decisions for you takes time, skill and expert knowledge. Perhaps this is why a large amount of unadvised working Australians have their super invested in a default fund or have no personal investments at all. Furthermore, being in an underperforming default fund can typically leave workers 36% worse off by retirement according to the Productivity Commission, and that’s not a favorable outcome to face when it is time to stop working and enjoy life.

There are five essential components that working with an adviser will provide you that the internet cannot, elements that finance professionals talk about day in day out with their clients and view as vital information to formulate an accurate and personal financial life plan:

Understanding your current cashflow / expenses / assets & liabilities as well as your goals and aspirations for the future, are essential to forming an accurate picture of where you are currently at, where you are trying to get to, and the steps that are needed to be actioned to reach your goals. Your current position is fundamental to the direction in which strategic advice will lead you and the importance of it’s accuracy cannot be underestimated when addressing your needs on a personal and practical level.

The first time you sit down with an adviser will often be the first time that you have addressed you goals and values when it comes to your finances, what you want to achieve in life and perhaps more importantly, why? How many honest conversations have you had with yourself or your partner around what is really important to you when it comes to your money and goals? Are you aware of what behaviours drive your actions to support financial habits or behaviours? As with any decision you make in life your financial decisions should align to support your goals and values and how you live your life. Having these meaningful discoveries around goals and values with an adviser will solidify your purpose and intent around your wealth and ensure motivation for an effective financial life plan.

Life is constantly changing and giving us new challenges to navigate which requires flexibility and choices on your financial path. When you google, the answer appears – that’s all we expect and it delivers extremely well, but you don’t know what you don’t know. There will be alternatives and possibilities that you may not have considered and unless you know to research them, these pathways will not be offered up to you and opportunities could be missed. The level of experience advisers have dealing with clients in similar positions allows them to offer beneficial alternative strategies to meet your needs and broaden the spectrum of what you thought was available to you. They have been there and seen what works and can provide tried and tested alternatives that fit with your goals and life plan.

A major advantage of personal advice is having a financial road map displaying your projected financial position over a period of time. This valuable information about your whole of life financial journey provides you with the knowledge to make informed financial decisions going forward. Furthermore, this gives you an accurate picture as to whether you can realistically achieve the goals you want to achieve in your given timeframe. Having a plan and blueprint to follow with clear steps on how to reach your goal is crucial to success that can only be achieved when the above steps are completed.

Sure, Google is always there, but having a personal relationship with a professional you can rely on, who knows your financial position, goals and motivation will ensure you are always on the right financial path for you. Maintaining your goals front of mind an adviser, will keep you accountable to the actions you need to take to continually meet your changing needs. Having professional support on every step of your financial journey offering guidance to manage your financial affairs properly whilst you can get on with enjoying life, is the kind of peace of mind that a search engine simply cannot provide.

Jodi Escudier is a financial adviser who helps women and families identify and reach financial goals through positive strategic advice.   Over the last 8 years Jodi has worked together with clients to develop a pathway to a better financial future and secure wealth for themselves both now and as they navigate life’s everchanging demands.