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The Importance of Having a Financial Adviser

7 March 2019

Leon Abrahams, the Principal and Senior Financial Planner at Aquila Wealth BlueStar, has amassed more than 38 years of financial planning experience.

We have a conversation with him about the unique role that an expert financial adviser can play in today's information-rich environment, where everyone seems to be sharing financial advice.

Disclaimer: The information in this video does not constitute financial advice. For sound financial advice, we suggest you approach a financial adviser.

1. We all know the term, but as a recap – what is the role of a financial adviser?

Our primary role is to offer independent, holistic financial planning advice to our clients. When you're building a house, you need an architect to draw up your plans. A financial adviser fulfils the role of a financial architect – providing a tailored financial plan to address your unique needs and goals. Importantly, this can be carried out in phases. It's a journey, not a once-off exercise.

2. There's a lot of financial advice available out there, on social media and so forth. What's the benefit of consulting with a professional?

It all comes down to depth of experience. Also, a financial adviser can generally act as a one-stop shop for financial advice. You have an expert who understands your circumstances, taking care of some of your personal portfolio.

3. Why did you become a financial adviser?

I wanted to make a difference in my clients' lives. My clients' success is my success. I can only measure the value of my advice when I see the results – a family that's financially secure after a breadwinner has passed away, or a client who's putting children through university without getting into debt, for example.

4. What are your thoughts on robo-advisers?

It's important to be on the leading edge when it comes to technology and how it can help you. Robo-advisers may well add value in certain circumstances. However, there will always be clients who prefer speaking to a financial adviser face-to-face and gaining advice based on decades of real-world experience. Also, as mentioned, a (human) adviser can provide holistic guidance that covers most if not all your financial needs. Is there technology available that can handle all of this?

5. When is it wise to speak to a financial adviser?

When you start working, you need advice on how to protect your income – one of your greatest assets – in the event of illness, disability or injury. This is also a good time to start researching retirement savings options. Other times you may need financial advice include when you get married, buy your first property or have your first child. In these instances, you may need advice on life cover and other aspects of your financial plan.

6. Finally, what qualities should clients take into account when seeking a financial adviser?

Look at the level of experience, qualifications and whether the adviser belongs to the Financial Planning Institute (FPI). It's important to understand that a financial plan isn't something that you create once and live up to afterwards. Rather, it is an ongoing process that aims to help you achieve your financial goals by taking changes into account as they occur – new goals, new financial realities and surprise developments both in life and in the world at large. These variables can make running a successful financial plan so complicated that it tends to lie far outside the abilities of most people. For these reasons, it's important that you have a qualified financial adviser who is well-positioned to guide you towards achieving your financial goals through your different life stages.

Sanlam Life Insurance is a licensed financial service provider.
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