Pros and cons of a DIY financial plan

Money and Life
(Financial Planning Association of Australia)

From the Barefoot Investor to Kochie, there are plenty of gurus out there with tips to fix your finances. Discover what they can and can’t do for your money and lifestyle goals.

Whether you prefer blogs or books, podcasts or Youtube videos, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to advice on money matters. But with so many experts sharing their wisdom with the wider world, how can you navigate all these ideas and get clear on what works for your own finances and plans for a better future? Here are a few things to keep in mind as you’re exploring what money mentors have to offer.

Generalist or specialist?

One of the most high-profile money gurus of recent years is Scott Pape, known to the Australia as The Barefoot Investor. His book, which has sold more than a million copies, offers guidance on getting more control over your finances. His tips on saving for the occasional splurge and keeping things simple with super have broad appeal for everyday Aussies trying to make the most of their money. Calling himself the leader of ‘the biggest finance cult in Australia’, Scott has built his following on fairly simple money hacks. This doesn’t mean his ideas are unsound, but if you’ve got a very specific financial issue to solve, his general pointers may not be enough to go on.

In his ‘Ask Paul’ column for Money Magazine, journalist Paul Clitheroe offers a more bespoke approach to money challenges. From investments for teenagers to buying property through Self Managed Super Funds, Paul draws on his background as a financial planner and reporter to explore the options. These working examples may parallel your own situation, but it’s likely you’ll have key differences to take into account – how much you have in debt or savings for example. Paul’s detailed answers offer food for thought, but can’t be expected to provide you with your very own strategy for either investingor retirement planning. 

Your money, your goals

When it comes to getting the most suitable answer to your money questions, it’s not just your financial circumstances that come into play. There are also your goals to consider and this is why following some finance gurus can distract you from what you really want from your life and finances. Property Couch podcast hosts Bryce Holdaway and Benjamin Kingsley don’t limit their money insights to property investing only. Their episodes, blogs and books also cover ideas around simplifying money management and reducing the stress around it. However, the perspectives they share are focussed on property as the path to wealth and freedom.

There’s no doubt Bryce and Ben bring plenty of first-hand experience to help listeners and readers avoid the pitfalls, and realise the potential, of property investing. They also share their couch with other charismatic experts, like former Money Magazine editor and author Effie Zahos, to bring different views on money and wealth into the mix. This can be really beneficial to budding property investors, but it’s also focussing on a path to financial wellbeing that may not suit everyone, or be in their best interests. 

The bigger picture and the long haul

Accessible advice from experts can definitely be a way to get people picking up better spending and saving habits. The small achievable changes suggested by Effie in The Real Girls Guide to Money and popular TV presenter and finance commentator David Koch in his new book Kochies 11-Step Money Plan for a Better Life can get you on the right track with day-to-day money management.

For a strategy that’s designed to have a long-term impact on your financial goals and wellbeing you need advice that takes account of your personal circumstances. Not only is a professional a qualified expert in all aspects of financial planning – from insurance and investing to savings and super – they also provide advice and options matched to your life stage, current money situation and your immediate and long-term goals. With this valuable input and knowledge based on your particular needs, you can be confident in making choices with your money that will add up for your finances and future.


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