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Getting advice

Managing your money can be hard and not all of us have the skills to sort out our own finances. That’s why a professional adviser can be a great help, whether you need a day-to-day budget or are looking for investment advice.

Types of advice

Good financial advice should focus on your goals and current financial situation and balance your short, medium and long term needs.

Budgeting help

Tip: Ask your budget adviser to check if you are eligible for any government help such as Working for Families tax credits.

The New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting Services provides free, confidential and personalised budgeting advice from trained budget advisers. They're a good place to start.

They can give you advice about government support, debt consolidation and bankruptcy.

You can find a budget adviser under Budget Advice Services in the White Pages, by calling 0508 BUDGET (0508 283 438) or visit the Federation of Family Budgeting Services' website.

Borrowing help

For advice on reducing debt you could talk to a budget adviser, your bank, a mortgage broker or financial planner. Talk to your bank to make sure your bank accounts and services are right for you. Some have budgeting tools to help you put money aside for bills, debt repayment or saving.

Budget advisers can sometimes deal with lenders like your bank on your behalf.

Mortgage brokers sell home loans and independent brokers offer products from a number of lenders. Many are willing to look at your overall financial position and may be able to help with budgeting.

Insurance help

Not sure what types of insurance, or how much, will meet your needs and budget? You can get help from an insurance broker or financial adviser, or by talking directly to an insurance company.

An independent insurance broker will be able to offer the widest variety of products. They may also be able to help you with making claims on your insurance.

You can find an insurance broker on the Insurance Brokers Assocation website.

Bank staff and mortgage brokers can often provide quotes for health and life insurance.

Investing advice

Financial advisers and sharebrokers give advice about investing in shares, bonds and sometimes property. They are able to help you build a portfolio of investments that best suits you. Some people also use financial coaches and mentors to help them get ahead.

Find out more about how to choose an financial or investment adviser.

Legal advice

If your tax situation is complex or you need legal advice, you may need to talk to an accountant or lawyer. Community Law Centres provide free legal advice.

You will need an experienced lawyer or accountant to help you set up a family trust

For help with making a will, talk to a lawyer or a trustee company such as the Public Trust.

You can find a lawyer on the New Zealand Law Society website.

What it costs

Advisers from the New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting Services don’t charge for their time.  Neither do bank staff.  

Mortgage brokers, insurance brokers, and financial advisers usually take commission from lenders and other financial institutions instead of charging you directly.

Some advisers charge by the hour. The advantage of charging by the hour is that they will consider a wider pool of financial products for you, not just those that pay commission. 

Accountants, lawyers, and wealth coaches usually charge by the hour.

How to find good advice

There are many good advisers out there but it's a case of buyer beware. You need to have a good understanding of the type of advice you need and, if you’re thinking about investing, your investor profile.

For paid advisers ask friends, family and colleagues for recommendations and interview several candidates. Make sure you ask tough questions - it's your money at stake. Check references and talk to former or existing clients.

And always check an adviser’s credentials. Are they an authorised financial adviser, or chartered accountant, for example? Look them up on the official Financial Service Providers register.

Find out if they belong to any industry groups such as the Institute of Financial Advisers, New Zealand Mortgage Brokers Association, or the New Zealand Law Society.

If things go wrong

All financial advisers must have a complaints process and they, or the financial services provider they work for, must also belong to an approved dispute resolution scheme.

If you have concerns about the behaviour of a financial adviser you can complain to the Financial Markets Authority. You can also contact the Banking Ombudsman or the Insurance & Savings Ombudsman, who can investigate complaints about financial advisers.