I AM often asked to talk about financial affairs but I'm never asked about the people who avoid their financial future. They're called "the avoiders". What do we know about them?
They are about a quarter of the population,
65% are women,
only 7% have an adviser,
they are stressed, anxious and overwhelmed about their finances,
lack confidence to approach an adviser, and
procrastinate and feel out of control.
These people are a big concern not only because of their number and pending vulnerability in retirement, but because their predicament is sustained by their own inaction.
Could we be doing better? Can such a large and predominantly female cohort simply be ignored?
There's always someone who wants government intervention, however past policy makers have already done a lot for retirement savers. Your employer has to contribute to your superannuation fund, and there are tax concessions in super to allow your contributions to grow.
If the description of "avoider" fits you, and you're feeling overwhelmed and stressed about finances, I have a simple message: You can take control.
Start with a simple budgeting tool as it helps you understand where you are now. From here you can set goals and make decisions.
Most avoiders could also benefit from financial advice, for information, direction and structure, but one of the elements of avoiders is their reluctance to call a financial adviser.
Let's look at the key myths that stop them from seeing a financial planner:
1. "It's too hard."
No, it's not. Financial planners clarify complex issues, and they can even be accessed through your super fund. Financial advisers specialise in repairing problems and planning for the future.
2. "It takes too much time."
It takes a few hours each year. Once you've set a plan, the adviser does most of the administrative work.
3. "I'll get to it later."
If you're procrastinating, you're avoiding making decisions. The earlier you get started, the better your financial results.
4. "I don't have enough to work with."
Actually, the less you have, the more important it is to get help. Financial planning can significantly add value and most financial planning results exceed the cost of it.
5. "They won't be interested in me."
Financial advice can propel the average middle class Australian to the next level, with advice on debt management, savings, investments and retirement planning. An adviser can be someone you go to with questions.
One of the things we know about financial security is that the earlier you start and the greater your understanding, the better your outcomes.
My advice is pick up the phone and talk to an expert. Taking the first step could change your life.
*MARK BOURIS is the executive chairman of Yellow Brick Road Wealth Management.
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