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How financial advisers can make you happier

Editorial General 25 Aug 2015

You could be forgiven for not knowing that this is financial planning week or why it’s considered good form to see an adviser - both* can help make you happier.

The research comes from the Financial Planning Association, which is sponsoring the week that runs until Sunday August 30, and all that joy doesn’t simply depend on how much money you have.

“We know from our Investment Trends research that regardless of how much money people have, they feel happier and more in control of their financial future if they take the simple step of consulting a financial planner,” says the FPA’s CEO Mark Rantall.

Needless to say while having more and more money does not make people endlessly happier you need an average amount to not feel too left out and to share in the wellbeing. In fact there’s Harvard research (see link here) which shows that having more money over a certain amount actually contributes to unhappiness- but that is another story.

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Those who see a planner, which the FPA says rose in number to 2.5 million last year up by 100,000 for the previous 12 months, are more positive and optimistic than those who don’t.

But there must be a lot of long faces because the association says 8.5 million Australians have ‘unmet advice needs’ and a third are concerned they will not have enough to retire on.

Given last week’s news from the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (AFSA), that the average couple will need an extra $130,000 to afford a comfortable retirement, that concern might be rising.

AFSA says that the government’s tightening of pension eligibility rules, rising cost of living pressures and extra longevity means they have lifted the estimate super balance such a couple would need from $510,000 to $640,000.

And given the present crash on the markets there wouldn’t be many people’s super accounts heading in that direction.

But it underlines the benefit of getting advice. The vagaries of the taper rate and the best strategy to balance any assets against the eligibility test are not immediately obvious to all.

*One feature of the week is the ability to get free advice through an FPA forum which can be reached at www.ask.fpa.com.au  Give it a go.

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