Specialisation requires absolute immersion

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Advisers will increasingly be looking to tap into Australia’s ageing population, and one way to do this is by specialising in aged-care advice. This process is very different to other parts of financial planning, and specialisation requires absolute immersion, according to Macquarie Bank aged-care specialist Brendan Ryan.

Ryan describes the process as “dynamic”. People in that situation – for example, an older client that has just had a fall – need help immediately. “Taking a fact find and coming back to someone in four weeks with the answers really isn’t going to cut it in this situation…along the way, there are decisions that need to be made that are probably based on information as it’s revealed,” says Ryan.

“Dealing with an expert who can be quite dynamic in their delivery of advice or feedback is really going to make this process a hell of a lot easier for people involved.”

Ryan says that one way planners can become a dynamic expert, is by engaging with the process completely to make sure they understand it. “My advice for someone who’s interested in providing service to people and families placing someone into residential aged-care is to get involved in the process. It may be a friend or a client you know well; perhaps say ‘can I just go along with you from the beginning of the process, to placing mum or dad in the care’.”

He says it is a good opportunity to visit facilities, spend some time at Centrelink, and get a sense of the forms and paperwork that’s involved. Admission staff can be very supportive of people getting the right financial advice, because they witness people becoming unstuck when they gloss over the financial aspects.

“Get involved in the process, try to sense where the friction points are and you’ll develop a nice empathy, or you’ll develop a knowledge of the steps, that’ll make you a lot better at delivering advice and service to these people that come looking for your help.”