Frequently Asked Questions
We regularly update our FAQ listing with queries received from clients. If we don't have an answer to your question/s below please do not hesitate in contacting us, we are only an email or phone call away.
Frequently Asked Questions
1What makes Think Independent different?
The key difference is our genuinely independent structure, which is a surprisingly rare thing in the financial advice world. Think Independent is independently owned, independently licensed and independently remunerated. By independently licensed we mean Think Independent has it’s own Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL). It is not an authorised representative of an AFSL held by a financial product provider or one of their subsidiaries. When we say independently remunerated we mean Think Independent does not receive any commissions/payments/inducements from financial product providers or any other parties. We are only paid by you, our client, with the amount agreed in advance.
2When is the best time to seek advice?
Now. After not planning and/or acting at all, the second greatest financial failure is leaving planning and acting too late to make a difference. If you are reading this you have more than likely come to our website looking for help to make at least one important financial decision. You can deal with this matter in isolation or use it as an opportunity for more comprehensive planning. Financially successful people start earlier than everyone else. They tap into the magic of compounding of benefits over time.
3How do you get paid?
You pay us the fee detailed for the service requested. There are no other payments. We do not receive commissions from loans, insurance, super or investments.
4Is that all you get?
Yes. We do not receive any payments from product or service providers. As before, there are no commissions or referral payments.
5Do you get anything from our investments, super, insurance or loans?
We do not receive any commissions/payments/inducements in relation to assisting you establish or review any investment, insurance or financial product. The only time we receive any amount from any of your investment or superannuation accounts is where you have requested this in preference to a payment from cash deposits/credit card. In such circumstances you will authorise payment of a specific amount as a one-off payment. As an Ongoing Advice & Coaching client of Think Independent, we are typically noted as your adviser in relation to investment and superannuation accounts and also insurance policies. Where these have been established via another organisation and involve an inbuilt ongoing commission or payment all amounts received will be forwarded to your nominated bank account. If you cease an Ongoing Advice & Coaching agreement we will no longer be noted as the adviser for the account/policy.
6Can we pay fees using cash or use cash to make investments?
No. We will never receive cash. A clear audit trail of money will always be maintained.
7Does the information authority we sign give you any control over our financial affairs?
No. The authority only allows us access to information to assist with your planning.
8If you assist us with investing our capital who ends up with the money?
This will depend on the investments recommended, but importantly investments will always be held in your name. They will never be held in our name and at no point will money, other than the advice fee, ever be paid to us.
9Will you control our investments?
It is our preference that changes to your portfolio are implemented by you. If you prefer that we implement changes on your behalf this can be arranged, but we will never take action without your authorisation. Again, investments will always be held in your name and we would only be acting under an authority from you that you could withdraw at any time.
10Do single people pay a lower advice fee than a couple?
Yes. We typically apply a 10% to 20% discount to the fee that would be payable by a couple.
11Why is the single discount not 50%?
The advice process is the same for singles and couples. While an additional person adds to the time required, it does not double the time and resources required.
12Are meetings held face to face, over the phone or online?
All these options are used. We use the option that is going to work best at the time. This will depend on matters such as your location, the availability of each party and the nature of the issue/s to be discussed. We believe all options work so why not use them. Phone and online meetings are very time efficient for clients and work for us too.
13How do we know you are a legitimate business?
There are a number of ways to confirm we are who we say we are. The best is to perform searches via the ASIC website (www.asic.gov.au). You can search the operating entity Think Independent Pty Limited, as the holder of an Australian Financial Services Licencee, via a Professional Registers search, and as a company via an Organisation & Business Names search. You can also search for Jason Smith as a representative of Think Independent, via a Professional Registers search, or the financial advisers register on ASIC’s Money Smart website (www.moneysmart.gov.au) or Find a Planner on the FPA website (www.fpa.com.au).
14Do you offer a cost and obligation free initial meeting?
We no longer offer a cost free initial meeting as the reality is the cost of this meeting was being carried by clients that engaged our services. To be fair we now charge a fee of $300/$400 + GST ($300 online or $400 face-to-face) for the initial meeting. It is important you are comfortable to discuss reasonably intimate matters with your financial planner so it is important you are comfortable with them as a person. The initial meeting is used for each party to get to know the other better, but the meeting is much more than a simple "get to know you" meeting. Over time it has developed into a really valuable meeting for clients. While we are not in a position to provide specific recommendations at the initial meeting, as more detailed consideration of your position will be required for this, we are able to provide you a picture of your current position and the path you are on using modelling software. Strategic options are introduced for further consideration. We will also look to help you achieve greater clarity as to why you are seeking help and what you are looking to achieve from the planning process. This is important if the planning process is to progress. We are so confident you will find the initial meeting great value for money that if you are not satisfied we will refund 50% of the fee and donate the remaining amount to one of our supported charities via B1G1 (we will forward you a copy of the receipt).
15How much do your advice services cost?
Our initial advice fees for a couple typically start at $1,200 + GST (includes fee for initial meeting) for strategic advice limited to Wealth Accumulation, Personal Insurance or Pre/Post Retirement Planning. The typical fee for Comprehensive Strategic Advice for a couple is $2,800 + GST (includes fee for initial meeting), with any associated Investment/Insurance Product Recommendations involving $500-$800 + GST (total of $3,200-$3,600 + GST). For a couple, Ongoing Advice & Coaching fees, which cover assistance with implementation of action items, start at $2,500 + GST for the initial 12 months.
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