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Starting Out - Solo Planner

Discussion in 'Financial Planning' started by canberraplanner, 10th Mar, 2012.

  1. canberraplanner

    canberraplanner Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Canberra
    Hi Everyone,

    I have recently accomplished my goal of obtaining a recognised MBA in Financial Planning to start the long haul of a career transition from an unrelated industry (but one that has taught healthy budgeting and a healthy level of scepticism).

    I have started a company and am now licensed through a dealer group who have been wonderful.

    So I'm all set to go with confidence in my intellectual and academic knowledge while I seek out my first clients to gain my real practical experience, all while maintain my full time day job which I will be unable to give up perhaps for some years yet. I know it will be hard.

    So does anyone have any good advice? I have spent a few years building up some strong networks in my target markets of professionals and retirees, and I think I want to focus on insurance and retirement planning as I do not believe I can realistically compete in investment planning as that requires more time that I have available, while insurance and retirement planning should suit my research minded detailed approach.

    So I'm qualified up (more so than many planners from what I've seen) but without real world experience as yet, and have only the standard IT tools available thus far while I seek to keep my overheads low while I accrue over $200 / month in licensing fees.

    So I thought I would start out with my wife and myself and do our own plan first - focussing on retirement and insurance planning, and I suspect everything will just 'click' then or I will overcome a potential psychological barrier at least.

    For now can anyone recommend any good superannuation spreadsheets? I am quite adept with Excel to an intermediate level (being not with Visual Basic although I could learn if I had to) but I am also keen to not get distracted with IT development when I should be out finding and servicing clients.

    The best I have found so far is SpeedSheets.com.au :: Excel Spreadsheets & Worksheet Templates - Free Trial which sell a range of spreadsheets for a few hundred dollars all up for about $30 - $50 each - but I would like to see the coding behind a spreadsheet so would prefer it to be not locked down if at all possible - as well as keep my costs down to the $280 / month licensing fee I currently have to service.

    Any suggestions will be gratefully received.
     
  2. Terryw

    Terryw Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    9th Jun, 2006
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    653
    Location:
    Sydney
    hi CP

    Can't really help with the spreadsheets on super but I do know a great site with many excellent property and investment related spreadsheets - many of them free too:

    Australia Investment Property Calculator

    I am interested in becoming a fin planner too - can you please let me know who your dealer group is? The cheapest one I have found is about $1000 per month.
     
  3. canberraplanner

    canberraplanner Member

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    Location:
    Canberra
    I have sent you a PM with the name of my group. What qualifications do you have so far? What pulls you to FP?

    Thank you for the link - there are indeed a heap of tools up there - even a retirement spreadsheet!

    However it's locked down so I can't check the assumptions and calculations and ensure it's legislative assumptions are up to date.

    I really think the financial planning community could benefit from some open source / community developed tools, with a company providing assurance and legal protection for a small fee (i.e. they 'assure' that the spreadsheets are accurate so you can point the finger at them in case anything goes wrong).

    But either way it's a good start, thank you.

    I will contact the spreadsheet author and see if he is willing to unlock it so I can check it's accuracy, or even donate it to the community under the Creative Commons Attribution licence (where authors and companies are legally assured recognition for their efforts).

    I have a separate thread running on spreadsheets btw

    http://www.invested.com.au/105/analysis-spreadsheets-39211/

    So my main question for this thread should be how do you all find paying clients and how do you get them from interested in advice to paying? I get a lot of request for advice and I can see I do cause people to think deep about simple things like consolidating super funds, but I need to move from friendly advice to paying advice.
     
  4. Terryw

    Terryw Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Sydney
    Thanks for the msg CP. I will look into that one. I have been researching Dover recently.

    I am a solicitor and mortgage broker atm. Just completing a masters degree in law focusing on wills and estates. I want to start offering financial advice as well, especially in the area of super. Next will be tax.
     
  5. canberraplanner

    canberraplanner Member

    Joined:
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    I wonder if we could help each other? Where are you based? I want to focus primarily on financial modelling / economics and retirement planning and insurance as that seems to be more forte. My day job is IT project management so I'm swimming in people trying to BS me all day, so I've developed a good radar for BS and it seems to serve me well in finance, where others who are driven by a lust for excitement and gambling seem to falter. So I am better suited to research / detail heavy long term planning rather than short term trading. And I do genuinely want to help people. I have an MBA in FP from Deakin University to set me on my way.

    I'm quite happy with the group I mentioned to you so far, very impressed actually. Very welcoming, very positive. Very impressed. Lets see how I go when I get my first client!

    What tools do you use?

    I am using a combination of OneNote / Evernote and Excel - so I am scanning or dumping everything in to the two and then extracting information. My first client is myself and my wife and boy what a job - we needed a good overhaul ourselves in terms of consolidating super and so on.
     
  6. Terryw

    Terryw Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    I am in Sydney CBD. Pity we weren't in the same city.

    Atm I am doing no financial type advice, just legal such as succession planning (legal side), will drafting, testamentary trusts, company and trust succession planning, enduring powers of attorney, enduring guardianship etc. I can manage a bit of SMSF stuff, but it is a complex area and need to learn more. Tax planning is needed too, but I don't go into this in too much detail as it is so complex.
     
  7. canberraplanner

    canberraplanner Member

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    Intriguing. Legalese is definitely not my forte due to an embarrassing lack of legal training. IT, spread sheets, business research, economics, long term financial planning, no problem. That's why I decided to go in to this as I got tired of telling my accountant what to put in my return and after a while felt that I can do a better job myself, so got myself an MBA, got licensed, and here I am with a monthly $280 licencing fee (insurance mostly) and eager to start taking on clients.

    Can you PM me (or reply here) with what you'd generally charge for a standard family estate plan and will? Similarly I wonder if we could help each other with cross referrals and knowledge pollination.

    If you are interested I will PM you my LinkedIn profile.

    Do you have a website or something?
     
  8. Terryw

    Terryw Well-Known Member

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    Its very hard to know what to charge. It would be negligent to draft a will without taking proper instructions and considering all the facts so even simple wills take me several hours to write. The trouble is people expect to pay a few hundred dollars for a will. I would charge around $500 but it may take me 8 hours to write all up. You would need to spend about an hour with the client gathering info, and then later asking for more info. Then the draft, showing the client, explaining and amending the draft and explaining again and then properly witnessing.

    More complex wills including testamentary trusts could be a few thousand. Also need to consider enduring guardianship - what happens if you are incapacitated, who can make medical and lifestyle decisions. Also an enduring power of attorney is needed for financial decisions. Having a proper power of attorney could save a person, or their family, tens of thousands of dollars in tax.

    eg. Z is in a car accident and is severely injured with no chance of recovery. Z has $1,000,000 in super and has met a condition of release. Z has children but none are dependents, If Z died the children may be taxed at 16.5% of the payment received via a death benefit. But if Z had set up an enduring POA the attorney could withdraw the money in super tax free (ie have Z withdraw the money). This money could then form part of the estate and no tax payable - saving of $165,000 potentially. But extreme care must be taken with this strategy as there are a lot of issues.

    But the point is to set all this up now so that it could be considered in the future. POA are really very complex with many issues involved. However many solicitors do these for free (without considering them much at all) so clients don't see the value in paying for advice in this area.

    So, I was thinking of charging clients an annual fee and then providing 'everything' (or most things needed). Set up of will and complete estate plan, enduring power of attorney, enduring guardianship, SMSF succession, inter vivos trust succession planning, company succession planning, tax advice relating to structres and succession of structure, asset protection issues, stamp duty, land tax issues, centrelink issues, special disability trusts, advanced care directives etc. Add to this the credit advice on how to set up loans, financial advice on setting up SMSF and strategies in running them. I am not sure much interested in advising where people should invest, or what to invest in. Not really interested in insurance either - other than recommend people take it out or consider it.

    Anyway, sorry to ramble on. No, don't have a website. Just a small operator. Will be doing one for the finance broking side of things soon,
     
  9. canberraplanner

    canberraplanner Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Canberra
    Intriguing again. Same with financial advice, I am finding that just going through our own finances and estate planning is a huge task, just to pull together a consolidated view. There is value in that alone as that is often an eye opener in itself. Good points about estate planning, this is my weak area as I am not from a legal background but it is so important to get right, first time. It would not be nice to have to deal with the emotional drain of legal issues on top of the trauma of whatever ill fortune has befallen someone. That's a tragedy and that is where professionals like us can make a good living while adding real value to society. I suspect that there is a chronic under insurance and abundant poor estate planning issue in society at large - so a potentially big market to tap - and a morally positive market at that. I know many who have had their grief exacerbated by estate issues, that some simple foresight and planning could have averted thereby freeing the grief stricken to focus on their recovery.

    It's astounding how we all regularly service our cars and spend many thousands on pointless items like 'spoilers' (urgh) yet how many struggle to 'find the money' for estate and financial planning. Well I'm sure those families feel great when they are left with a fully sick car but can't access the main providers funds as you point out.