Victor is a Financial Planner at Empower Wealth who has more than 10 years’ experience in the financial planning industry. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the Australian National University majoring in Accounting & Finance, a Diploma & Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning, and is a Certified Financial Planner ® with the Financial Planning Association (FPA).
A little bit about myself. I enjoy going to the gym and trying to stay fit. In addition to that, in my spare time, I like to fix cars and learn new skills related to tinkering with engines and things like that.
How did you get started in the financial planning industry?
Yeah, so it’s funny because when I studied at university, I was training to become an accountant, but I wanted to have a part-time job, so I got a job as a client services officer at a financial planning firm. And I had the privilege and an opportunity to work very closely with some financial planners back then. And I saw firsthand how important and crucial their role was to help clients understand their financial position and a detailed plan as to how to achieve their retirement objectives. I could see firsthand the amount of trust that a client puts in our financial planner, and I thought to myself this would be a great fantastic career to be in because you get to help clients really make solid steps to achieve their retirement objectives. I have been in the industry ever since, since 2007.
What was your most rewarding moment as a financial advisor?
I had the privilege to work with a lovely couple once. They were a few years away from retirement, and one of their main concerns was would they have enough to live off. Like my typical client, they came in very uncertain about the future, quite stressed. They had an idea in their head, which was they wanted to undertake a rather aggressive/risky investment strategy, and part of my job was to unpack what they had, again maximize the use of their cashflow, their existing assets, model out their future using some educated and reasonable assumptions, and I was able to provide options to them.
I was able to show them that on their current trajectory making some small changes, they were very likely going to be able to retire when they want to and live the lifestyle they want to.
And obviously that strategy that they had in mind was still on the table; but now that they had a very clear understanding of the future, they themselves decided that that strategy wasn’t necessary. All of a sudden the amount of stress that they’ve been experiencing all these years thinking about their future was alleviated.
So my job is to explain to people the advantages and the disadvantages of different paths and the likely outcomes. Completely acceptable for someone to undertake a risky investment decision, for some people that’s what they’re comfortable with; but for other people, if they don’t need to take on that risk and if they can achieve their goals via other methods, well then it’s powerful to better have those options.
What are the common mistakes most investors make?
The most common mistake I see from people is not investigating their options. I have seen far too many people just be content with the default options or the default settings that their superannuation fund has put them in. Now, people need to remember that the default option often applies to possibly hundreds of thousands or millions of the superannuation funds member base, but you are an individual person with your own unique set of circumstances.
It just makes sense that you should come up with something tailored for yourself.
Another common mistake I see clients make is not fully understanding the risk involved of their investment strategy. Often, people act on emotion that can be lured into making an investment decision based on how it has performed in the past. And I always say to people, just because something has done well in the past, there’s absolutely no guarantee that’s what’s going to happen in the future. And I hate to see people who are at the later stages of their life or approaching retirement and undertaking some rather risky strategies without fully understanding what they’re getting into.
Alternatively, on the flip side, I often see some very young people who are just starting their working lives, who again don’t have a full understanding of how their super is invested, the composition of their assets, etc. And they might very well be invested in a way that is too defensive for them.
Now, again, how you should invest is dependent on your own risk tolerances and your own goals and objectives. But you know, a lot of people, if you’re very young, you’ve got 30 years until you can access your super, it doesn’t make sense for you to have so much in defensive assets because that could work against you. So it’s worth unpacking these concepts and seeing if you would be more comfortable with something more aggressive, subject to understanding the risk versus benefits of course.
What does an initial consultation with you look like?
When a client sees a financial planner in Empower Wealth, they’re asked to fill in an online fact-find, which is a source where we can collect as much information about the client as possible. This gives us the opportunity to go through that before the meeting, so we’re not wasting time asking about the very basics during the meeting; but during the meeting itself, a client can expect to do probably most of the talking at the start. It’s very important that we learn about your specific goals and objectives, what you want to achieve, what you want to get out of the meeting, what are the focus points; and after that, once we have a good understanding of what you are trying to achieve, where you’re at right now, we would go through the options and tell you what we think, where we can add value, what we think you should focus on, what you can do better, etc.
You can learn more about Victor Dao here. Or if you’d like to book an initial consultation with our Financial Planners, simply fill in the form below and we’ll email you the next steps.
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