Financial planning lessons + WIN R1000 voucher

I become a mom in the first year that I started working, shortly after completing my degree – during that time, I had lots of decisions to make and the ones that weighed most heavily on me were the financial ones. I did some research and found out that I needed a retirement plan, an educational policy and life cover. I pretty much stuck to these and although I was making good basic decisions, doing it without the proper advice and support of a Financial Adviser (FA) meant that I hadn’t necessarily made accurate and customised estimations to support those decisions. I finally got one in 2014 and it came with great relief to know that my son’s future needs would be taken care of.

Then I relaxed a little bit too much.

Until I met Palesa, a FA from Liberty, who spoke at a recent event that I hosted for moms. She chatted to us about the importance of financial planning and re-evaluating our plans, as our circumstances change. The emphasis on re-evaluation/re-assessment was key for me, because the truth is that I treated my relationship with my Financial Adviser as a once-off event, instead of a long-term journey, that evolves as my circumstances evolve.

I realised that although I did have my own FA from Liberty, I hadn’t leveraged the relationship to my advantage. He made plenty of effort to reach out to me and send me useful articles every other month, but I never took his questions and follow-up’s seriously and I also hadn’t made the time to honour our appointments to update him on the (BIG) changes that had taken place in my life.

When we eventually met a few weeks ago, we had lots to talk about, but the main focus was on the following themes:

Education planning:

Having had another child, I had to take my daughters educational expenses into account. So a big part of our discussion was around making more accurate projections for (both) the children’s education.

Financial Adviser

Lifestyle planning:

There was a lot to discuss here, because I’ve had big changes this year – from getting married, to starting a new job and building a house. Naturally, this came with lots of eye-opening questions and important updates, such as changing beneficiaries (when I was a single mom of one, this was more obvious). The conversation was not about increasing premiums and doing more, but about coaching and guiding me about my options and the things I may have wanted to consider.

Retirement planning:

Here, we did a comparison between my retirement benefit at work and that which I had taken up privately. It can be easy to make the mistake of getting the same cover from two different institutions and two premiums, so it’s important to look into this carefully.

To be honest, I walked away from our first conversation feeling overwhelmed; but, I was consoled by the fact that I was finally taking action and control over my finances again. Through this process, I was also surprised to learn that less women than men between the ages of 35-44 years old have Financial Advisers.  This really needs to change! Research tells us that at least 70% of consumers with a Financial Adviser are more confident about their current financial situation. This made me look into questions that may be useful to you when you meet with your Financial Advisor for the first time – no more excuses.

Smart questions to ask your Financial Adviser

When it comes to interviewing or deciding on a financial planner, there are some questions that outweigh the rest. These include the following:

  1. What are their certifications or credentials?

This question is to ascertain if he or she is a registered Certified Financial Planner or even better whether they are a fiduciary, which means they have your best interests at heart when it comes to making investment and risk recommendations.

  1. How do you charge for your services?

This question is broader and better then saying how do I pay you? It’s important to understand all areas of your financial planner’s compensation, if you don’t ask there maybe potential hidden fees.

  1. May I see a copy of a sample financial plan?

All financial plans should differ and be tailored to an individual’s needs. What you are trying to see here is how brief or in-depth the analysis is that your Financial Adviser will conduct.

  1. What type of clients do you specialise in and what makes your client experience unique?

With this question you are asking “why do I want to work with you?” Here the planner should give you a mandate or his customer value proposition. Personally, I found comfort in working with someone that had a good track record, as well as, the experience of putting children through high school and university.

Financial Advisor


  1. What are your measurements for success?

This is a key question because a strong planner will measure success based on how well your plan is progressing against the goals you have laid out and he/she has set up. He will also measure against your age, risk, inflation, benchmarks selected based on your time horizon.

  1. How much contact do you have with clients and will I be working with just you or a team?

Again based on their response you can gauge the level of attention, contact you can have with the adviser, and how often you will review your plan together. Remember at the very beginning you need to establish a relationship together hence you may meet more frequently until trust is established.

  1. What happens in the event I become incapacitated?

Even if you can manage your own finances, there will come a time when you aren’t around, either through passing or becoming unable to. A good financial planner will help you with proper estate planning and ways to protect your assets.

  1. Lastly in terms of your succession plan, if something had to happen to you what plans do you have in place to assure my needs are met?

Here we are talking about business continuity; to ensure that your financial goals/plans continue uninterrupted should anything happen to your financial adviser.


Now, go forth and conquer Mama! I love writing about my experiences, so that moms like you can learn from some of the mistakes that I have made. We lead very busy lifestyles, but financial planning isn’t one of those things you should leave to chance – it’ will always be one of those areas that we need to drive proactively.

To get you started and motivated for your journey, I’m giving away one Woolworths voucher worth R1000 to one lucky reader. To enter, simply leave me a comment letting me know if you have a Financial Adviser or not and why?

This giveaway will close on 12 October 2018. Full giveaway Terms and Conditions are available here.

This post was powered by Liberty, but as usual, all opinions and experiences are my own.



Modern Zulu Mom

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  1. I don’t have a financial adviser ,bring a 23 year old first year student at varsity I have learned some of the hardshipsof not planing for your life ahead but whatever questions I have about finances I just relate them to the financial advisers at the bank I use

  2. Yes I do cause you need to keep your finances healthy and it’s just so much easier with a financial adviser in your corner.

  3. I do have a financial advisor but I must say I first had an encounter with one in 2005 when 21yrs old and it was basic such as a retirement annuity. 4yrs ago my life changed so much I always joke arpund that I did a 360 degree change as I had my first child and got married the following year then 19 months after I had my second child. So much had changed and I knew that financially as well I will have to relook at my finances since the retirement annuity alone is not enough. We still need to have a one on one with a financial advisor to adjust everything else and consider the current family change as well as for future planning. So much can happen in such a short space of time and often we leave behind the necessary financial planning that needs to take place with the new family adjustment.

  4. My financial discussion occured at the weirdest place,the maternity ward 11 years ago being a new mum for the first time little did i take into account actually what 9months before birth could have on my life and let alone think ahead for years to come.As i lay there my hospital plan just rocketed to staggering amount i ended up in a converstion with an amazing lady l,she was a financial advisor by proffesion.And little did i know she some how magically had been reading my anxieties and thus our relationship begun.Ive learnt so much from her over the years that i cannot put to words how much it has helped me.11 years later and guess what im rewriting my own histroy but with a twist of good i am a mom to be again and im ready for all that shall face me.Ladies it helps alot to be heard and to be guided.

  5. I currently dont have a financial advisor but as of January 2019 I will be discussing certain financial matters with a good friend who is one.

  6. I have a retirement annuity with Old Mutual and have access to their financial advisors. They often phone me to update me on new offers.

  7. I don’t have one.. but I think I should. We have one that comes around to our work too discuss pension fund. and then gives us advice, and I have a RA that I took out many years ago with a broker, can’t even remember his name. It’s a scary worry about how I will finance my children’s education.. and they are just over a year apart in age.

  8. I currently dont have a financial advisor because I’m unemployed,but as soon as I get a job,a FA would be the first thing on my list.

  9. I do not have a financial advisor and I am definitely going to seek the services of one as Soon as I gain employment I am a widowed mommy and currently unemployed.
    I realise the importance of having a financial advisor and need to secure my daughters future and my retirement once I am employed again.
    Thank you for a interesting and enlightening post.
    To all the moms out there stay blessed and treasure your loved ones and ensure they are financially secure as I am definitely going to soon.
    Life is difficult enough and being a single mommy is even worse but with correct advise and financial services It will be better.

  10. I have three kids and my spouse’s job is high risk as a security guard I definitely need to help advice and to be educated about financial planning budgets annuities etc.
    I have been delaying this for to long you now have motivated me to make change for the better for me and the kids. Thank you for this post.

  11. I have a financial advisor where I currently hold my retirement plans. Problem is I never know the right questions to ask them, your post has been so informative and i know now what type of questions to ask to get the right answers… thank you

  12. I recently met with a new FA and oh my gosh, they made me feel like I wasn’t doing much with my money. So I went back to the drawing board and I realized just how much money is wasted in things I did t really need. Thank you for this. ZeeMthombeni

  13. Don’t have one purely because I always thought I was managing my expenses very well. After reading this, I discovered I haven’t done anything at all. Considering it heavily. Thanks Thando

  14. When I got married 8 years ago a FP was the first thing that my husband and I saw together. I must admit though that we are due for a revision because like you a lot has changed in our lives and our circumstances.

  15. To be honest I always thought one needs to earn a lot of money to be able to have a financial adviser. Knowing what I know now I wish I started enquiring earlier in life seeking for financial advice. I am happy now that conversations around creating one’s wealth and ensuring that we break the cycle of living from hand to mouth is more accessible.

  16. I am one to write long essays, i promise to try and summarise. I have never been good with finances even though I started working in my teenage years. I only acquired a FA after my Twin boys had started preschool. This came about after fighting with their father for school fees and even maintenance court could not get me any justice on this. I sat down and thought, the Twins only have me so as a mother what am I going to do considering I already work 2 jobs to sustain us? What would happen if i lose those 2 jobs and decided to consult an FA as i had no clue on what to do with what i earn that can somewhat secure the Twins future. I am glad I did it because there are positive changes and a concrete foundation for the Twins on a financial perspective.

  17. I actually do have a financial advisor. With LifeCheq. And they’ve helped put my financial world in order! I really appreciate them!

  18. I currently don’t have a Financial Adviser cause I don’t have any finance to advise on.
    I have been unemployed for three years and struggling to find work.

  19. I do not have a Financial adviser that I can trust always feel rushed and over power from I basically research on the internet and make a decision.

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