What Does a Financial Advisor Do?

What Is a Financial Advisor?

I think we can all agree that money makes the world go around, right? Right. However, most people haven’t got an inkling of an idea about personal financial management. That is where an advisor comes in. They are there to help those that don’t have the financial know-how (or the time) by using their knowledge of the economic climate to develop comprehensive (but user-friendly) strategies tailored to client-specific needs, in order to help people to navigate the (often daunting) world of finance. These professionals are university graduates with backgrounds in economics who are certified, licensed and well established.

personal financial management
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But What Do They Actually DO? Can they help me with my personal financial management?

Now you may be thinking, “Well the umbrella term of strategizing and generality of advice is all very well, but what do they actually mean by it?”.  Well, financial advisors offer specific services that are aimed at helping you plan, budget, save and build wealth among other things. They deal with your current financial plan and give you straightforward advice on how best to achieve your financial goals by helping you to manage your debt, investments, expenses, your health care plans, risk, tax and even your future retirement or estate plans. If you don’t have a plan and feel yourself floundering at words like “investment” and “risk”, fear not because a financial advisor will take all your information into account, do the research and calculations for you and then give you a clear-cut set of financial options for you to choose from.

personal financial management
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And Why Should I Consider Hiring One?

If you are struggling to align your finances with your long term goals, if you need a plan but aren’t sure how to budget effectively. Or if the thought of managing your own investments makes you sweat – you might want to seek the help of a financial advisor. That being said, even if you are completely comfortable with your grip on financial management – it is never a bad idea to go through a professional who can guarantee you maximum investment with minimum risk!

Though it means an extra bill to pay, it will also mean that you are made fully aware of your own personal financial management system, that you are not barking up the wrong tree when it comes to what health care plan to choose or which company to invest in, and that you have the opportunity to handle your finances safely and effectively. This of course means finding a financial advisor you trust – always check the references folks!

Money makes the world go around, but you don’t need to have a degree in finance to manage yours properly. Just make sure that your chosen advisor is qualified, licensed and trustworthy – and then let the financial professionals do what they do best, and advise you!

Tips when making your financial plan

A financial plan is something we should all have but few of us actually do. In this case time will actually equal money! The time you spend crafting your financial plan will help you save and pay off debt in a way that will help you reach your financial goals! Financial Plans are the backbone that helps you stay on course to reach your goals.

But drawing up a financial plan can often be overwhelming and seem impossible to do. So even though you know it’s vital you don’t end up doing it!

So here are my 3 tip to successfully write your financial plan:

Make it personal

Its easy to get wrapped up in watching YouTube videos and read articles about how other people create their financial plans. The difference is, that is their financial plan. Not yours. And it is important for your to realise that and make your plan suit your needs. As every person is different and will have different needs.

Financial Plans Need to be Revised

Things change. Situations change. Jobs change. And so should you financial plan. As life changes, kids come along, people get promoted, you needs and wants change. And that is why it is important to revise your financial plan at least once per year, but preferable every 6 months.

Consult a professional

As much as you can do it yourself a professional can bring in some better insights. They can be objective and help hold you accountable to your plan. They can offer advice on where to save your money, how much to save, and what debt to pay off faster. These are things that only a FSP professional who is FAIS complaint can offer you.

financial plans
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There are many ways to write your finanical plan. Be it in excel or on a notepad. The important step is to draw it up! As this will help you on your journey to financial freedom!

Money Skills to learn that will help you on your money journey

Money Skills to learn that will help you on your money journey

Your money journey is a unique and interesting one. A journey that will take you from earning nothing to earning something and one day, to retire. However, how do you navigate such a journey?

You need to be confident in your own abilities to manage and delegate to professionals that are needed. You will need to learn skills to help you along the way. Here are four money skills that will help you along the way:

4 skills to help you on your money journey

Learn to read fund fact sheets

Fund fact sheets are the information statements provided by the asset managers of their funds. These are freely available on their websites and are updated periodically as per regulations. Now even if you are not managing your own investments, it is beneficial to learn how to read these statements so you can understand where your money is and have more in-depth conversations about your goals and plan with your advisor.

Money Skills
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Learn to read a Bank Statement

A bank statement can look complicated. I sometimes think banks do this on purpose. But being able to read and understand these statements will help you in tracking your money and thus managing it. This is one of the great money skills to master.

Read!

Reading is a great way to learn new skills from others. Whether from a blog or from books. Read often to allow yourself to learn and grow. Two books I recommend are Ramit Sethi’s “I will teach you to be rich” and Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”. Both of these books offer different ideas and perspectives on money.

Money Skills
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Make yourself earn things

We all know that we appreciate the things we earn. So do that to yourself. If you meet your savings goal, buy yourself a slab of Lindt chocolate or something you enjoy. If you want to buy a car set yourself a savings goal to reach before you can consider it. This will help you appreciate things more and avoid irrational purchases.

All our moeny journey’s will be different. But by learning some of these skills, you will make your life easier and be able to make more descions.

Stay Safe and keep growing

How I am saving money during COVID19?

How I am saving money during COVID19? 

2020 has been a hell of a year with a pandemic hitting earth causing a worldwide shut down for a lot of this year. Moreover, even though it seems like things are starting to go back to normal, we still have some way to go.

One of the hardest parts for a lot of us is losing a lot of our income during this time. This has caused havoc in our lives and obliterated the savings what savings we had.

So I thought I would share some of the things I have been doing to cut down my budget to save money during COVID19. Watch the video below to see my thoughts:

How to invest in a Real Estate Investment Trust

How to invest in a Real Estate Investment Trust 

As I said in my last article about Real Estate Investing, Real Estate Investment Trust or REITs for short, are a great way to invest in Real Estate.

Real estate has been a popular investment among many people over generations. The idea of owning a piece of something tangible excited people. However, this was often only something afforded to the affluent. However, that is no longer the case.

Real Estate Investment Trust
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What is a Real Estate Investment Trust? 

A REIT is a company that owns land/ buildings that generate income. They can also finance real estate and earn an income from the interest charged in some countries. These investment vehicles offer a way to invest in the property market with little money.

Benefits of a REIT? 

REITs are often managed by good investment companies that offer diversification that you would struggle to get on your own. Their expertise helps make your life easier. They are also publicly traded on the stock exchange making them easy to buy and sell, unlike regular property that can sit on the market for ages. They also allow a stable cash flow in the form of regular dividends.

Downsides? 

REITs tend to have low growth which can frustrate some investors. They can also charge high fees depending who is managing the portfolio.

How to Invest in Real Estate Investment Trusts? 

Investing in a REIT is easy with many brokers and FSPs offering REITs. So the best way to invest would be to chat with your advisor about your options and what best suits you needs and goals.

Now you know how to invest in a Real Estate Investment Trust! With this option you can explore the possibility of investing in property with little money. Talk to your advisor today.Stay safe and Invest Wisely!

What is Personal Finance?

Personal Finance is very talked-about in today’s world. It often intertwined with big words such as Diversification and Tax-Free Savings. So what is Personal Finance really? Do I need it?

What is Personal Finance?

Personal Finance is everything to do with your finances. It is your plans to meet your financial goals, as well as where your money comes from and where it is going. Personal Finance helps you plan where you’re going.

Do I need it?

Yes! Everyone has a financial goal, be that a new house or a life of freedom. Those goals are part of your finance as is your plan to get there.

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3 Tips for becoming a master of Personal Finance:

Budget

Yes, I probably say this too much. But budgeting makes such a difference in your ability to save, invest, and reach your financial goals.

Use Debt Wisely

Debt can be good, but it can be bad as I described in “Do I have the wrong type of loan?“. So make sure you use good debt and limit bad debt.

Don’t do it alone

As much as an advisor or financial planner may seem like something for the wealthy, it is not! Financial Planners can help you identify your goals and help you reach them Wit their expertise, they can advise you on debt, investments and more.

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So don’t run when you hear someone talking about personal finance, embrace it and your own journey. We are all different and have different journeys! Share yours and you could inspire others!

Keep safe

Fixed Income? Is it worth it?

Fixed Income? Is it worth it?

Fixed Income investing always gets a bad rep for being slow-growing and boring. However, it does have its place in the market. And in uncertain times it can offer safety that other assets can’t. But let’s get into the info so you can make a wise decision with help from your Qualified Financial Advisor:

What is Fixed Income?

Fixed income is a type of security that pays a set level of cash to its owners over a determined period. At the end of the period, known as the maturity date, the money invested is paid back to the investor.

These assets are seen in the form of Bonds, Money Market, Preference Shares and cash funds. Most common are government and corporate bonds.

One benefit identified by Investopedia about this type of investment is that if a company goes bankrupt, bondholders are typically paid before shareholders.

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Where do I invest?

The safe assets are usually bought in the form of ETFs, Unit Trusts and retirement funds. They are thus very accessible to most people.

Speak to your financial advisor of the options available and what best suits your risk profile.

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Fixed income investments should not be ignored just because they are the safer option. Depending on your investment goals, it could suit your needs. Speak to your financial advisor to find this out.

Keep learning

When to Use Tax-Free Savings Accounts

When to Use Tax Free Savings Accounts

Tax Free Savings Accounts are the new big thing! Being able to save on capital gains and income tax is a huge plus! But is it for everyone? What are the downsides? And what should you look out for?

What is a Tax-Free Savings Account?

Tax-Free Savings Accounts were introduced in 2015 by the National Treasury to encourage the low and middle class to invest. The investing product allows a person to invest up to R33 000 per annum of their after-tax income. This investment will not incur any tax for Interest, Income, or Capital Gains earned within the account.

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What are the Downsides?

There are few downsides to this type of investment, but there are a few things you should be aware of when investing in a Tax-Free Savings Account:

  1. You have a maximum Lifetime contribution of R500 000. Any more than this will be taxed.
  2. You are limited to specific investments such as ETFs, Unit Trusts, and other funds. Your Advisor will be able to go into more detail on this.
  3. If you take money out you cannot put it back. If you withdraw you cannot replace it, you will have to use more of your lifetime limit. It is thus often looked at as a Long term Investment.
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What to look out for?

Like with all investments, there are a few key points you should always check and discuss with your Financial Advisor before investing:

  1. Costs – Always check the fees of your investments. Both Upfront and Recurring.
  2. Performance – How has the asset performed and is it matching up with your goals
  3. Risk – Calculate your risk number with your advisor to find the right investment
  4. Credibility – is the provider registered and regulated?

Tax-Free Savings Account can be a great way for you to save money for the long term. With the right investment and right Advisor, you can have long term growth!

How to Invest in Property without lots of Money?

How to Invest in Property without lots of Money?

The idea of investing in property is cool! Owning your own piece of land seems like a great achievement, but for many, it seems like just a dream. So, How to Invest in Property without lots of Money?

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With the price of properties as high as they are and the income requirements from the bank, for most of us owning any property seems unattainable. But what if I told you there was a way! Here are three ways you can invest in properties with just R100:

Property Companies or Real Estate Investment Trusts

Property companies or Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) are listed on the stock exchange and can be bought and sold like other shares. These investments are made into properties and the companies that manage them. Property companies issue a Dividend on the profits made by the company. While REITs distribute all earnings from the properties held after they have deducted management fees.

Property Etfs

Property Etfs are also listed assets that can be traded on the stock exchange. They are made up of a group of Property Companies and REITs offering you a diversified property portfolio without needing to lift a finger.

Easy Properties

Easy Properties is a new product of the Purple Group. They offer fraction share investing directly into property developments. The owner will rental income and can sell the property when the value appreciates. This style of investing is very close to buying a physical property as it allows you to choose from available properties, without having the stresses of managing it.

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Property Investing does not have to be expensive! If you speak to your advisor about these lower-cost options, you can invest in property too! I use Easy Equities as they offer great service and low costs but speak to your fsp about your options.

Keep growing!

Why I should avoid Payday loans

Why I should avoid Payday loans

We all have bad months where the unexpected happens. And this is when we look to borrow some money to get us through the month. A very well advertised and often used option are payday loans. These loans lend you money on a short term basis to be paid back by the end of the month. These loans can seem like a attractive way to get through the month. But here is why you should avoid them!

  1. They charge very high-interest rates! Because of the high risk associated with these loans, the lenders often charge very high-interest rates which can hurt your pocket!
  2. Similar to point 1, the lenders often charge very high fees!
  3. They are only a short term fix, not a long term solution. A short term loan can provide you with cash flow. But you need to look at why you need the loan. Are you spending too much? Is your emergency fund to small? Or is this a completely unexpected event?
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Here are are 2 ways to avoid needing to take one of these loans:

  1. Build an Emergency Fund! An emergency fund is an easily accessible, low-risk savings account that you keep for emergency purposes. This fund is often in the form of a savings or call account linked to your bank account. This account has usually has between 1-3 months expenses saved up for emergencies.
  2. Have some cushioning in your budget. Although this is not always possible, try to keep a small amount for unseen things in your monthly budget. This will help you cover small expenses without needing to dip into your emergency fund or debt.
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Life is hard and financial decisions are difficult. And with so many adverts around that make things look great, you need to read the fine print to ensure you are not paying more than you should! Use my two tips to avoid them and in time you will be able to avoid Payday loans altogether.