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Financial Planning

Financial planning – misguided and misunderstood

John Hewison
Founder and Director
25 May 2015

As a result of media talk and advertising campaigns solely focused on investment returns and outcomes, people inaccurately believe financial planning means investment alone.

For example, the Industry Super campaign “Compare the Pair,” which cites advice fees as the sole influence over outcomes. Comparative investments returns are regularly published but what’s missing is qualification about the risk comparisons or their suitability to individual investors.

Investment disasters including the collapse of tax driven agri-schemes such as Timbercorp, shonky schemes like Trio Capital and the Storm Financial disaster can all be attributed to greed driven investment decisions which were not based on sound financial planning advice.

We are being led to believe there is a smarter way to tap into short term high returns on investment, what I like to cal the “pot of gold” syndrome. Unfortunately this simply does not exist.

There is however a sure-fire way to achieve financial security.  It is through a long term journey that takes careful planning and management.    

Of course, investment is an important element of financial planning. However, it’s no more important than a raft of other strategic issues that a skilled and experienced financial planner must consider. Often it is the strategy that provides the greatest returns rather than the investment.  

Chasing the highest investment returns is fraught with danger based on the risk to reward ratio, that is, the higher the reward the greater the risk. If you’re unable to get a return on your high risk investment then the outcome for you could be very costly.

Sadly this eventuality is often ignored by investors and by the spruikers promoting them. It is all too common for those who take the greatest risks to be those who can least afford to.

Quality financial planning focuses on the relationship between adviser and client. It takes into account all the facts and all the contingencies to design a carefully crafted strategic advice plan that is specifically prepared for that client’s circumstances and desired outcomes. The investment piece should then be structured to achieve the client’s stated objectives at the lowest possible risk. This strategy then becomes the blueprint for the client and their financial planner to manage their affairs on-going, with regular contact and reassessment as required.

Financial planning is a complex and very personal journey. Circumstances differ from client to client and life is unpredictable. A skilled and professionally qualified financial planner can make all the difference between developing a sound strategy with flexibility to adapt to inevitable change and a disaster.

Unfortunately financial planners have endured bad press over recent times however I urge you not to tar the profession at large with the same brush, based on the actions of a few unscrupulous organisations and individuals. There are many outstanding independent, professional financial planners who do a remarkable job in protecting their clients’ interest to benefit their future.

I liken good financial planning advice from a qualified professional to good medical, legal and accounting advice. It makes a positive difference to your life.  



Hewison Private Wealth is a Melbourne based independent financial planning firm. Our financial advisers are highly qualified wealth managers and specialise in self managed super funds (SMSF), financial planning, retirement planning advice and investment portfolio management. If you would like to speak to a financial adviser on how you can secure your financial future please contact us 03 8548 4800, email info@hewison.com.au or visit www.hewison.com.auPlease note: The advice provided above is general information only and individuals should seek specialised advice from a qualified financial advisor. The views in this blog are those of the individual and may not represent the general opinion of the firm. Please contact Hewison Private Wealth for more information.