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General financial planning

In the first episode of the new Afrikaans TV programme Waardevol on kykNET well-known actress and soapie star Elma Postma will focus on how to save money.

Elma quizzes one of Momentum's financial experts on how to achieve financial freedom with the right planning. Estelle Scholtz-Mare will share practical tips on how to manage the monthly crunch of paying your bills by getting your finances in order; she will show you how a clear vision of the future is the basis of healthy finances, and how crucial it is to start planning early.

How to choose a financial planner Open

Getting advice on financial affairs is no longer reserved for the well heeled. Today the services of a financial planner are essential for anyone earning a salary and wanting to build his or her financial wellness. So how do you go about finding a planner that suits your needs and goals?

Almost all financial services companies have advisers you can access. Simply contact your service provider and the company will refer you to a professional. This is just the first step, however.

Feeling comfortable with your choice of financial adviser is not just about his or her qualifications, you must be comfortable with the relationship as a whole. You need to be able to call the person with questions without feeling you are imposing on him or her. In turn the person must be willing to give you guidance. This will be a long-term relationship, so you need to ensure that you are comfortable with the person's attitude, bedside manner and general demeanour.

Here are some key questions you need to get answered before you commit to the relationship.

  • Firstly ask about the adviser's professional background. Look for a strong track record or education and job experience covering most of the bases of financial planning.
  • Ask for how long the person has been a financial planner. A good rule of thumb is five or more years in the investment and insurance field. Or at least look for someone who reports to a more senior adviser who checks all recommendations.
  • Ask the adviser how he or she will make money on your plan. If there's a heavy reliance on commission income, keep that in mind when the adviser recommends that you buy specific investment products.
  • You should receive a clearly written, individualised financial plan. It should spell out the steps you have agreed to take and the reasoning behind the advice. In addition the adviser should ask you about your debt level and about any future financial commitments such as education costs or perhaps having to take care of ageing parents. This document is called a financial needs analysis (FNA). If an adviser doesn't follow this process, start looking for another.
  • Your planner should discuss and document the amount of risk you are willing to take to achieve your goals.
  • The adviser should also make specific suggestions for improving your cash management.
  • Knowledge is power. The more you know about money management and investing the more you will be empowered to assess the quality of your adviser.
  • If your adviser offers you a product that doesn't fall within the ambit of the usual financial services offered, be extremely cautious. For example, investments such as property development or unlisted shares have the tendency to go belly up. Stay well away no matter how good they sound.

If you have taken the time and effort to seek out the help of a financial adviser, but would like to check on the person's credentials, you can contact the Financial Services Board to ensure than he or she is registered. You would need the name and FSP licence number of the person. An adviser must have this number in order to practice.

Financial planning brochures

If you need advice, speak to your financial adviser. If you don't have one, you can either call us on 0861 300 789; send an email to contactme@momentum.co.za or SMS "Waardevol" to 41480. We will respond during office hours.

Estelle has been at Momentum for the past 15 years and has moved from being a legal advisor to Head of Savings Marketing, and Leads and Campaigns. She is now Head of Financial Wellness Marketing.

Tune into kykNET's new show, Waardevol, which tackles various important financial matters.