What do financial planners actually do?

I worked as a Financial Planner (or Adviser) from 2005 – 2019.  When people asked me what I did, and I told them “I am a Financial Planner” there were a few common responses.  Most commonly – “Oh, I need one of those”.  Second most commonly – “What do you actually do?”

There is a perception that financial planners only help rich people get richer, which always intrigues me.  If people are already rich, are they the ones who really need advice?

Financial Planners take on many roles including Research, Advice, Strategy, Guidance, Encouragement, Goal Setting, and assisting people to achieve Peace of Mind or what I like to call “Financial Relaxation”.

The areas they work in include:

Superannuation, Investment, Personal Insurance, Retirement Planning, Pre-retirement planning, Estate Planning, Budgeting, Savings Plans, Centrelink Maximisation, and Taxation Minimisation.  Most importantly, they work with people, and to summarise here is what they should do:

Minimise financial risks, and maximise financial opportunities

One of my former clients asked me to tell her story, in order to communicate some of the things that we do better than any financial planner is able to.  Many thanks to Amanda for sharing:

“We weren’t wealthy, we didn’t have savings or investments. My husband’s company was taken over and they said they were going to put off a lot of workers. He had been working there for 12 years. We had teenagers, a mortgage, renovations, all the usual expenses that families have. Our wages didn’t cover our costs and we were hoping we would breathe again when the kids finished school.

We saw Melinda and she organised our finances and affairs so that we were protected if the worst happened. My husband was one of the lucky ones and kept his job although he took a substantial pay cut. 50% of his fellow employees were made redundant.

We thought we were over the worst of our financial difficulties, our youngest son finished school and we were finally in a position where we could pay off our credit cards, landscape the garden and plan our first family holiday in years.

Then my husband was diagnosed with cancer. One visit to the doctor, a CT scan, he was in and out of hospital, more tests, trips to specialists. The cost of treatments and special medications was unbelievable, one cancer tablet cost $4,000 per month! He couldn’t drive because of the medications he was on and I had to give up work to care for him, around the clock.

We had insurance. Melinda had put all that in place. We were able to go on knowing that the cost of treatments, therapies and loss of wages was covered. After a few weeks my husband was given a terminal diagnosis and with the support of our local palliative care I was able to care for him at home until he died.

I still had a mortgage and debts, no regular income for nearly a year, was unemployed and grieving and the renovation on our house was incomplete. The whole way through our experience Melinda handled the paperwork and helped us in any way she could.

After the estate was settled Melinda organised everything again so that I could return to study with a regular income from investing my husband’s superannuation and Life Insurance proceeds. I have been able to pay out the mortgage, engage a builder to finish the renovation and help the kids along with their Uni studies. All the way through, because of the best financial advice, I have been able to make choices based on what was the best possible for our family.

You can’t predict what will happen in life. You can’t see into the future and you never think the worst could happen. But you can organise your affairs with the help of a good financial planner so that if things go wrong you have choices and options. I’m still not wealthy. But I’m so glad we take Melinda’s advice.”


Everyone has opportunities to minimise financial risks and maximise financial opportunities.  With constant changes to legislation, financial markets, world events, and your own personal situation it is essential to refer to a financial specialist who is experienced and up-to-date.  I no longer provide advice myself, however I still want to help people get good advice.

Melinda Houghton

Adv Dip FS (FP)

Insider Out – Understand and Trust your Advice

 This information may be regarded as general.  That is, your personal objectives, needs or financial situations were not taken into account when preparing this information.  Accordingly, you should consider the appropriateness of any information we have given you, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs before acting on it.

I am no longer authorised to provide financial advice.  If you wish to receive financial advice you must contact an authorised provider.



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