Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is financial planning?

    Financial planning is about shaping your future and improving your overall financial well-being. It involves looking at your unique set of circumstances and tailoring strategies that will support you to work towards the lifestyle you have always desired.

    One of the issues that many people face, is that they are uncertain about what they desire and how, when or if they can even achieve it! Unfortunately, you can’t get anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going, how to get there or what time you need to be there! This is where financial planning comes in.

    A financial planner will help you look ahead to the next 5, 10, 20 years etc. to clearly identify your goals and where you would like to be at each point. With clear destinations now on your map, they can then work with you, educate you and guide you into creating potential pathways towards these destinations.   

  • Why should I use a financial planner?

    So many people are aware that they could be doing more with their finances, however, with so many options available in the financial services market, it can seem daunting or too complex to take the first step. A financial planner can not only provide the assistance you need to navigate towards your best options but also ensure you remain compliant with the most up-to-date rules and regulations.

    Bear in mind, a financial planner will apply their knowledge, skill and experience to your particular circumstances and recommend strategies that are tailored to your needs.

    Additionally, many people have the misconception that financial planning is for those with hundreds of thousands of dollars sitting in the bank, or those with numerous assets, or even the individuals that work in the financial industry themselves and understand how it all works. The reality is, financial planning is for anyone that wants to improve their overall financial well-being and set themselves up for the future.

    To find out more on how a BFS can assist you please refer to our Services page.

  • Do I need savings to get started?

    No. Financial planning is not just about investments, nor does it require thousands of dollars in the bank to start working towards a secure future. A financial planner will begin by assessing your current financial situation, assess your cashflow, and recommend changes or additions that will positively impact your future and provide you with a strong foundation to build on to achieve your financial goals.

    However, it is necessary to have an idea of what you are trying to achieve and a clear picture of your current financial position.

    Preparing a summary of the following is useful;

    • What you own; your home, bank accounts, superannuation, vehicle, shares and other investments
    • What you owe; debts including mortgages, investment loans and outstanding credit card balances
    • Your income and expenses
    • What insurances you have (eg. Life insurance)
    • Whether you have an up-to-date Will

    To find out more on how a BFS can assist you please refer to our Services page.

  • How do I get started?

    You can get started today by preparing a summary of your financial position as outlined above. Then spend some time thinking about what you would like to achieve over the next 5 years, 10 years, by retirement age etc. The greater clarity you have in these key areas, the more value you are likely to get out of financial advice.

    Once you have done this, contact us to arrange your initial complimentary consultation with our Head of Financial Services, Brad Hunt on (03) 9851 9000 or

  • What are the costs involved? Do you accept commissions? How are you paid?

    Baumgartner Financial Services (BFS) aims to be as transparent as possible when it comes to fees, that’s why any fees are outlined to you beforehand in a quote or engagement letter.

    The level of the fee depends on the scope of the advice sought. BFS does not accept commissions and no percentage fees apply. All advisers are paid by way of salary, therefore you can be safe in the knowledge that our financial advice will be free from pressure to recommend any particular products or services.

  • How will advice be provided?

    Our advice will be provided to you in a written format known as a Statement of Advice (SoA) also known as a ‘financial plan’. The financial plan is a written summary of the advice.

  • What do I need to bring in to my initial consultation?

    You need an idea of what you are trying to achieve, why you are seeking financial advice and a picture of your current financial position. Preparing a summary or providing copies of documentation relating to the following is useful;

    • What you own; your home, bank accounts, superannuation, vehicle, shares and other investments
    • What you owe; debts including mortgages, investment loans and outstanding credit card balances
    • Your income and expenses
    • What insurances you have (eg. Life insurance)
    • Whether you have an up-to-date Will
  • How should I invest my money?

    That depends on a number of factors that your adviser can help you with as part of the financial planning process. Some initial things to consider include;

    How much do I have to invest?

    What do I want from my investments?

    How long am I prepared to remain invested?

    When might I need some or all of the capital?

  • What types of investments do you recommend?

    BFS can recommend a wide range of investments with the exception of:

    • Currency trading / speculation
    • Contracts for Difference (CFD’s)
    • Derivatives (including put and call options) on direct shares
    • Agribusiness MIS (Managed Investment Schemes)
    • Unlisted shares.
  • When should I start thinking about retirement planning and what does this involve?

    There is no need to wait until your 40s or 50s to start thinking about retirement, in fact, as a general rule, the earlier you commence planning for retirement the better, as you’ll have more working years in front of you to invest and accumulate wealth. The sooner your strategies are in place, the more likely you will be able to reach your goals.

    Retirement planning can involve a number of strategies. However, the overall focus is generally to build sufficient wealth to meet your lifestyle objectives once income from active employment has ceased.

    If you are 45 – 50 and you have not turned your focus towards retirement planning as yet, please give us a call today on 03 9851 9000 to get started.

  • Why should I consider BFS for financial advice?

    BFS is part of the Baumgartner Group, which has been providing industry leading, tax, compliance, audit, Self Managed Super Fund (SMSF) audit and other services since 1983. With so many years’ experience in the financial services industry, you can rest assured you will be in safe hands.

    Moreover, through our professional networks and referral partners, you will have access to additional services such as finance broking, estate planning, aged care and family office support. Our advisers will work in conjunction with other members of the Baumgartner Group to provide you a seamless and comprehensive service.

  • Is BFS a distributor of any particular financial products or services?

    No. BFS is a privately-owned business that does not distribute any particular financial products or services nor do we accept commissions from product providers. The advice we provide is free from any obligation to recommend particular financial products or services. Providing you with opportunities to improve your financial wellbeing is always our highest priority.

  • Are the fees transparent?

    Yes, BFS aims to be as transparent as possible when it comes to fees.

    One of the benefits of using us is that we only charge flat dollar fees which we quote upfront. No commissions or percentage based fees apply and our advisers are paid by way of salary. You can rest assured that there will be no hidden costs when using our financial advisory services.

  • Do I have to agree to the investments you recommend?

    No, our role is to recommend investments that we believe are appropriate for you but ultimately you remain in control of the financial decisions at all times. Our aim is to work with you to identify ways to achieve your goals, so that you will feel both comfortable and confident with your decisions.

  • How often will you review my investments?

    This depends on the type of investments involved but will generally range from quarterly to annually.

  • How are you authorised to give advice?

    Baumgartner Financial Services Pty Ltd is a Corporate Authorised Representative of InterPrac Financial Planning Pty Ltd Australian Financial Service Licence (AFSL) No.246638.

  • What can I do if I have a complaint about the advice ?

    BFS is committed to providing quality financial services in an efficient and honest manner. We take all complaints seriously. A copy of the InterPrac “Complaints Handling Policy and Procedures” is available here or through InterPrac Financial Planning. If you do have a complaint:

    Please contact us directly to discuss the issue and seek a resolution.

    If the complaint cannot be resolved by talking to us, please contact InterPrac Financial Planning Head Office directly, by writing to:

    The Complaints Officer

    InterPrac Financial Planning Pty Ltd

    Level 3, 29-33 Palmerston Crescent

    South Melbourne Vic 3205

    Tel: (03) 9209 9777 Fax: (03) 9209 9731

    InterPrac will acknowledge the complaint within two business days.

    They will then investigate the complaint and respond to you within 45 days. They will notify you if the complaint is more complex in nature and likely to require an extension to thoroughly investigate the complaint and resolve it.

    If InterPrac Financial Planning is not able to resolve your complaint to your satisfaction, you have the right to lodge a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman Service, a dispute resolution service for the financial planning industry.

    Financial Ombudsman Service

    GPO Box 3,

    Melbourne VIC 3001

    Telephone: 1300 780 808 Fax: (03) 9613 6399


    Additionally, ASIC has an information line on 1300 300 630 which you may use to obtain information about your rights and to make a complaint.