When I got married I was pretty confident that we would very quickly move from our rented flat to a lovely, white picket fenced home in the heart if the leafy suburbs in Cape Town.
That may have seemed slightly naive...until you realise that this was in 2009, and the world economy had effectively collapsed. Then our middle class dream is seen for what it really was: Completely naive.
So we went into this whole "adulting" thing without much thought of our finances. We never really overspent (mostly thanks to my wife) but we definitely weren't finding ways to make our money work for us long term.
To be perfectly honest, we were actually holding off on seeing a financial adviser, because both of us were terrified of finding out what state our finances were in. In my mind, it was like booking a dental appointment while knowing that the last time you flossed was when...well, never. We just hated the idea of having someone know how financially immature we were.
The time came when, for various reasons, we had to talk to someone about what we should be doing about long-term investments. So, nervously, we met with someone who had been recommended by a friend. He asked us about our lives, our goals, what we hoped the future had in store. He asked us about what we did, how much we earned, and how much we spent.
And not once did he look at us disapprovingly. In fact, he told us that there were many positive things we could do, and that we were in a great place to start building a good financial foundation. He told us about different portfolios and retirement annuities and life insurance options (and he also told us what those things actually were) and told us what he thought we should do.
A couple of days later, we got a comprehensive plan from him. We knew what we would be spending each month and what we would be getting for that. The whole process, which we thought would be nerve-wracking, actually ended up getting us charged up to save more and spend less - that's right it actually made us excited to save.
Trust me, that's nothing short of a miracle.
If you are as nervous about choosing and talking to a financial adviser, here are some questions you could ask to give some confidence:
What are their certifications or credentials?
How do you charge for your services
May I see a copy of a sample financial plan?
What type of clients do you specialise in and what makes your client experience unique?
What are your measurements for success?
How much contact do you have with clients and will I be working with just you or a team?
What happens in the event I become incapacitated?
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?
Want to stand a chance to win a R1000 Woolworths voucher? Tell me about the best piece of advice you received from your financial adviser (or tell me why you haven't met with one yet) in the comments below or on the Facebook post!