typing on the laptop at the coffee table, looked down and ARGH!
As part of our attempts to be more grown up, one of the projects this year was to consult a financial adviser.
When we moved our mortgage to a new bank at the end of last year, a personal banker came with the package. He has been pretty excellent in making the transition absolutely seamless and has been great to work with. When we mentioned that we had been considering getting some financial advice and he said he’d organise a meeting with one of the bank’s financial advisers if we were interested – which we were.
However, there have been a number of scandals recently where planners employed by the big banks have completely mis-managed their clients funds – leaving those clients out hundreds of thousands of dollars. So we went into this meeting with eyes very wide open and a healthy suspicion.
We (well, to be fair, mostly Don) put in a lot of effort into preparation for this meeting, clearly defining our goals and working out what we’d want our retirement to look like – even down to developing a retirement budget.
In summary, the goals are:
* minimise our tax (Don always has a large tax bill at the end of the year)
* retire between 60 and 65 (everyone over 60 at SML has kind of lost the plot. I do not want to be that person!)
* have the mortgage paid off by retirement
* have $x in superannuation by retirement
Armed with all of this we went into our preliminary meeting. We talked for about almost two hours and agreed to pay a not insignificant sum for a comprehensive plan.
A few weeks later and it was time to meet to discuss the results.
And there was no plan – comprehensive or otherwise. Nothing even remotely resembling a plan. We were presented with some options for investing our superannuation (retirement savings), but mostly were pitched a bunch of ridiculously gold-plated insurance products – so gold-plated that it would take Don’s entire superannuation contributions (9.5% of his salary) to pay the premiums!
There was not even basic projection for where we would be at retirement if we followed this advice. When we asked about how our goals fit into this, we were told they were not achievable. Well, of course they wouldn’t be if all of our retirement savings went on insurance premiums. Unkind people might suggest the planner was more interested in his hefty insurance sales commission than anything else. There was also nothing about what we would need to do/change to achieve our goals or … anything.
Needless to say we were rather displeased and extremely disappointed, but maintained the veneer of civility and professionalism. And really, the dude was a bit of a patronising dick (we were indeed fortunate that he was deigning to deal with us, because he generally dealt with much larger portfolios – which he enthusiastically reminded us on a couple of occasions). Any time we asked a specific question, he would pretty much brush it off and displayed a singular lack of knowledge about several issues .
We reluctantly chalked the cost up to a learning experience. But fortunately when Don gave our feedback to our personal banker (who was at the meeting), he was insistent that we not pay anything and agreed that it did not cover anything we had expected.
Nevertheless, despite this very dire experience, we’re meeting with an independent planner on Friday. If that ends no better, we’re going to have to take this into our own hands.