Your Financial Services A-Team by Saul Muscardin

As we get older (and hopefully wiser) most of us begin to appreciate that we just can’t do it all ourselves. Where we used to be our own hairdresser, mechanic, cleaner, home handy-man etc, we gradually outsource these jobs to experts who do it more efficiently, to a better standard, and in half the time. In fact, these relationships become so integral to our daily lives that once we find “our guy” (or girl), we won’t even think about taking the job back ourselves – or heaven forbid, using someone else.

They are just too important, and without them we know that our lives would be a great deal more stressful, and a whole lot less productive. Outsourcing to trusted experts is how we get to spend more time in our own area of expertise, and also have more time for our family and enjoying life!


Actual image of my out-of-control hair while I wait to cross the QLD border to see “my guy”.


So, if your goal is to have great hair, a reliable car, and a clean house you need to find yourself a great hairdresser, a decent mechanic, and a good cleaner. But if your goal is to create Wealth for you and your family you need to build yourself an “A-Team” of financial professionals. When it comes to your finances the B-Team just won’t cut it – it’s more than your hair on the line!


So, over the coming weeks in a 6 part mini-series I’m going to show you how you can build your A-Team. We’ll introduce all of the professionals you’ll need for success – a bit of a “who’s who in the zoo”. We’ll do a deeper dive into what each of them does, what they don’t do (or aren’t legally allowed to) – and which professionals you should be asking for advice about which subjects.


To get things started we’re going to need a captain – someone to steer the ship and take control because without the right person at the helm the crew will start to get unruly and the destination will never be reached. That person – the 1st member of your A-Team is a licensed Financial Adviser (or Financial Planner).


Financial Adviser (Financial Planner):


Everyone has their own idea of what a Financial adviser does depending on their particular needs or experience – some people think it’s all about investments, others think it’s about superannuation, or life insurance, or saving and budgeting. Whilst these things are indeed important, they’re just elements of a financial plan.


CHG Financial Advice is about helping you move from uncertainty toward Clarity, Success, and Freedom –
from where you are, to where you want to be.


We work with you to understand what’s important to you and your family, then we develop a strategy to help you achieve the financial success you deserve. Depending on your goals and the strategy you need to help achieve them we might need to get some other professionals involved – professionals with deep expertise in a specific element of your plan.


A good adviser takes a helicopter view of your financial life –  they are a strategist, a coach, and a project manager. A good adviser may have deep expertise in many of the elements of your strategy, but they are wise enough to know that the best overall result comes from project managing a team of technical experts, and they are humble enough to not pretend to be a one-man or one-woman team of technical experts.


On your wealth creation journey you will be faced with a series of critical options & choices that will either present a risk or an opportunity. A good Financial Adviser will help make sure that every decision keeps you on track to meet your financial goals. The compounding effect of a series of good life choices can have a profound impact on your wealth over time, and just one poor choice can undo a lot of good work so developing a robust decision-making framework is incredibly important!



Aussies love their property, so let me give a housing example to articulate.

Imagine trying to build a house yourself. You are responsible for the overall design and plans, the construction of the foundations, frames, & all associated carpentry and for engaging suitable trade professionals to complete the parts that you can’t (or are not legally allowed to – a qualified sparky must do your electrical, a qualified plumber must hook up your plumbing etc). Unless you’re a builder or a carpenter you just wouldn’t dream of it.


  • You aren’t familiar with the Australian building code and associated regulations.
  • You can’t effectively communicate with all of the various sub-contractors.
  • Your subbies will be frustrated as hell with you and will likely do a worse job than if they’d been engaged professionally.
  • It will take more time, more stress, more stuff ups, and achieve a poorer overall result than using a builder.
  • It will test your relationship in ways you could have never imagined! (fortunately wifey and I made it through our reno’s in one piece).
  • It will cost you far more than it should.
  • The product you create will be valued far lower than it should be.
  • It’s more expensive because you don’t get trade discounts.


Most people tend to recognise the above pitfalls when it comes to building houses so rather than going it alone, they engage a good builder. Better quality, less stress, faster completion… the choice is a no-brainer. Yet when it comes to finances, many people try to go it alone – or they do the equivalent of hiring an electrician to do the job of the builder (Asking their accountant or mortgage broker, or real estate agent for financial advice).


A Financial Advisor (or Planner) is the equivalent of your builder, and a good one will make your life a breeze. In fact, part of their role is helping you build your A-Team. We will become the central point for management of your Financial plans – and together we’ll engage the other members of your A-team from our amazing network of local experts as & when necessary.


Who can give financial advice:

The reason that a qualified financial adviser should be the first member of your A-Team is that they are the only member of the team legally allowed to provide personal financial advice. This means anyone providing personal financial advice needs to be an authorised representative of a company holding an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL). ASIC provides a list of qualified financial advisers here


What a Financial Planner should do:

  • Help you qualify & quantify your financial goals.
  • Design a strategy to help you achieve them, comprised of the following elements
    • Your Income Plan (including cashflow & taxation considerations)
    • Your Debt Plan
    • Your Investment Plan
    • Your Retirement Plan
    • Your Personal & Asset Protection Plan
    • Your Succession & Estate Plan
  • Implement your agreed plan & bring it to life.
  • Engage with 3rd party financial service providers required to achieve your plan (solicitors for estate planning, Accountants for setting up business structures, or tax, Mortgage Brokers for finding the best bank for your Debt plan etc).
  • Be a sounding board for life’s big decisions so that you remain on track to achieve your goals.
  • Help you adjust course when you’re off track, and give you the confidence to spend & enjoy life if your goals are on track.
  • Take the stress of financial management off your plate so you have more time to spend on what is important – enjoying life.
  • Be transparent and consultative.


What a Financial Adviser shouldn’t do:

  • Make your plan about “Financial Products” (They’re just not that important compared to the strategic elements of a plan).
  • Sound like a salesperson – run a mile.
  • Promise you outrageous returns (if it sounds too good to be true it usually is).
  • Be an ‘order taker’ – they should be consultative and consider your choices & preferences, but if you’re just asking them to implement your strategy… they’re not going to be adding much value. Let them advise.
  • Pretend to be an expert at everything – some advisers do have amazing technical expertise across various elements of advice, but they also need to be experts at choosing experts.

Engaging an Adviser:

You can read all about who we work with, and our advice process at Your first meeting is absolutely free, so don’t hesitate to book a discovery meeting to see if you can find the first (and most critical) member of your A-Team.


Next installment we’ll meet the 2nd member of your A-Team – Your Account for a deeper dive on what they do, what they don’t do, and how to find a good one.


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