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  • Nathan Fradley

Values-Based Planning: How I provide advice

values aligned

The Values-Based Advice Philosophy

Thinking about getting financial advice, what comes to mind first? For most people it is either saving on tax, investing or reviewing their super. These are fine reasons to seek advice, but not the basis of great advice in my view.

The foundation of all advice needs to start with your core principles and beliefs. By understanding what truly matters to you, we support better decision making throughout the whole process.

Circle of advice

Understanding your Values

In practice its understanding the real WHY. What are your real motivators? Where do they come from? How have they shaped your decision process?

For example, in Divorce Advice

  • You come to see me wanting to invest. Why? Is it to grow wealth? Or is it because you have just split your asset base in half has part of the divorce, and feel like you falling behind? Maybe it’s about controlling your destiny now that you are in the drivers seat? Maybe you want to actually retire one day, and see your parents, colleagues friends all family struggling to make that transition, and you don’t want that for yourself.

In exploring this it allows us to avoid generic approaches to your financial plan. If you want a standard blueprint you don’t need an adviser, there are plenty of books that can help you.

You seek advice to get a personalised plan that best meets your situation, and we can't do that without truly understanding you.

Defining Your Goals

With the understanding of your decision making process, values and priorities we can construct goals that truly mean something to you.

We can link the goals to realistic or aspirational timeframes (depending on the type of goal), visualise it and live it. Make it more realistic, accurate and meaningful. It’s your goal, not a goal, so you are far more tied to it.

For example, advice on inheritance instead of “You want to invest your inheritance” & “You wish to retire at age 60, on $60,000 a year in 10 years” lets try;

Following receiving your recent inheritance you want to make the most of the opportunity you have. You have always admired your grandmothers grace, in family, in her health and how she managed her money to do both. You want to do the same, investing this money in way that you are comfortable enable you to live a retirement that includes regular camping trips and being able to travelling to see family every major holiday, now and through your retirement in 10 years time. To do that we estimate you will need $60,000 plus an allowance of $10,000 for additional holidays and to be the support for your family your grandmother was”.  

Developing a Strategy

With strong goals and a great understanding of your values and priorities we can now build a strategy that actually works.

Knowing your decision-making processes, particularly but not just about money means we are not just recommending an approach that works in our calculator but something you can stick to. This also comes back to how I communicate to you, and how we implement a plan.

The best strategy is not always the one that looks best on paper either, sometimes and often you may have priorities higher than having more money.

For example, in Aged Care advice

  • With your mother going into Aged Care we can either rent out or keep the family home by the beach uninhabited for the next two years.

  • Let’s say in this case it makes sense to rent it financially, by about $6,000 a year.

  • This rental income is great, although is offset by the increase in fees and decrease in Aged Pension.

  • From a financial perspective it makes sense to rent out the home, but from our discussions you decide against it because you would have to have someone else living in that family home would require drastic cleaning and changing of the property.

  • This could impact the memories in the home, where the intention is for the family to either buy it from Mum, or inherit it to keep in in the family.

Of course in every situation, I fully inform my clients of their options, but I never apply my bias of priority over their values, but with understanding their values I am better able to present viable options, and their implications to ensure they are getting advice that is in their best interest, not limited to financial interest.

Selecting Financial Products

Only after we’ve established your values, goals, and strategy will we look at specific financial products. These products are the tools we use to implement your strategy effectively, ensuring they align with your overall financial plan.

There is value in selecting the right financial products, particularly in cost savings or feature selection - however looking at it through a lens of your priorities and values.

An interesting offshoot of this being the last and least meaningful part of the plan is that as your adviser, the value I am providing is limited the products I recommend product, reducing any potential conflict.

What Values-Based Advice Means for You

  1. Deeper Client Relationships

  • By focusing on your values and goals, we build a deeper, more meaningful relationship. This trust and rapport are essential for creating a financial plan that truly reflects your life aspirations.

  1. Holistic Financial Strategies

  • Our approach considers the broader context of your life, not just financial metrics. This holistic perspective ensures that your financial plan supports your overall well-being.

  1. Empowered Decision-Making

  • You’ll be actively involved in the decision-making process. Our collaboration ensures you feel heard, understood, and engaged in shaping your financial future.

  1. Comprehensive Documentation

  • We’ll thoroughly document your goals, values, and the rationale behind our financial recommendations. This ensures compliance and provides a clear record of our advisory process.

How We’ll Work Together

  • In-Depth Client Interviews: Our first step is to spend time understanding your values, aspirations, and life circumstances. I use various models to shape our conversation looking at your aspirations, to your milestones, as well as understanding your biases or limitations through open and candid discussion.

  • Integrating Values into Financial Plans: The insights gained from our discussions, willl inform financial strategies that align with your values and life goals.

  • Maintaining Open Communication: We’ll foster a collaborative relationship, involving you in every step of the decision-making process. We’ll regularly review and update your financial plans to reflect any changes in your values or circumstances.

  • Thorough Documentation: I’ll clearly document your goals, values, and the rationale behind our financial recommendations, in a way that is meaningful to you. This not only ensures a strong plan but also provides a comprehensive record of our advisory process giving you confidence you are getting considered advice on your situation, which you can refer back to when you need.

In closing

A change to my normal blog I hope this helps to inform you of what to expect when getting advice from me on your situation, be that your divorce, a complex estate matter or putting a loved one into care.


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