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People know they should see a financial adviser and develop a financial plan, but they often don’t know where to start.

When you engage an adviser, most will create a financial plan for you: where to put superannuation investments, what kind of life insurance to buy, and various strategies around taxes, property, borrowing, share investments and estate planning. The adviser should tell you the cost and what you get in return.

The challenge in financial advice concerns conflict of interests. Your interest is to make good decisions for yourself and your family, so that your retirement savings grow, you have appropriate insurance and you’re creating security. However your interests may not coincide with those of a financial planner who may be rewarded to have you invest your super in certain managed funds or take out insurance with a specific company.

In long-term assets such as superannuation and property, small differences in returns can add up to large amounts of money. So it’s imperative you understand the ways in which your interests can potentially differ to an adviser’s.