Back

Who can you trust with your money?

Frank Lilley
2nd April, 2019

The answer is you.  When it comes to personal finances you will benefit tremendously from doing two simple, powerful but not always easy things.  Pay close attention to the services you are getting and what you are paying for them; and educate yourself about money.

We hear a lot about how the financial services industry is doing the wrong thing, which may make you feel powerless and simply want to give up, in the mistaken, but understandable, belief that no one can be trusted.  But what we have learned in recent years about poor behaviour by the financial services industry actually makes it that much more important to stay engaged and keep learning.

A decade of scandals

There has been lots of bad news about the lack of trustworthiness of the industry in recent years.   A seemingly endless stream of media stories, inquiries and reports revealing unethical behaviour and even unlawfulness.  The real low point was in 2008, when bad banking practices globally appear to have caused a financial crisis so serious and damaging that is has been dubbed the Great Recession, second only to the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Most recently in Australia, the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry (Banking Royal Commission), which issued its final report on 1 February 2019, provided evidence of malpractice so widespread and systemic that it even surprised some of the most seasoned scandal-weary observers.

It is not the Centre’s role to stand in judgment or to recommend particular policy, legislative or cultural changes.  Our role is to help Defence members and families understand financial matters and offer practical steps you can take to protect yourself and achieve financial security.  We regard the following suggestions as two of the most impactful things you can do.  Even better, they are free.

Pay attention

One of the biggest lessons out of the Banking Royal Commission is that even in a heavily regulated market with strict rules of conduct, there are no guarantees that people will do the right thing and that you will be protected.  You need to pay attention.  Remember the saying ‘caveat emptor’ or ‘let the buyer beware’.

A good example of failing to pay attention is the revelation that thousands of financial advice clients were charged what the Banking Royal Commission called ‘fees for no service’, sometimes for years.  They were paying ongoing fees for little or no service, presumably without realising it.  This is wrong.  But it apparently happened on an industrial scale.  The best way for you to protect yourself is to be sceptical and pay close attention to what you are being charged and why.  If you are not sure what a fee or charge is for, ask.

Simply paying attention is more than half the battle. The next thing to think about is where you can find reliable sources for information you can use to learn more and for help where you need it.

Keep learning

Fortunately, besides the independent information made available for members and families through the ADF Financial Services Consumer Centre, there are other reliable sources of information and assistance out there.  These include:

You can do it

The good news is that there has probably never been so much information and assistance available to help you and your family along your money journey.  With some attention and ongoing learning you will be able to set yourself up for a secure financial future.

CHECK OUT MORE HELPFUL ARTICLES

VIEW ALL ARTICLES

How to avoid a Christmas debt hangover

The Christmas / New Year period is usually a happy, busy time of year but it can also be very expensive.
Read More

Health insurance vs Medicare

Here we explain what healthcare costs are covered by Medicare and why you may benefit from taking out private health insurance.
Read More

ADF Family Health information

Alison Berlioz-Nott from Defence Health explains how the ADF Family Health Program and private health insurance can work together for ADF families.
Read More
lamp

LOOKING FOR FINANCIAL ADVICE?

Find a financial adviser who will act in your best interests.

FIND A FINANCIAL ADVISER

SIGN UP FOR OUR MONTHLY NEWSLETTER

Want to stay up to date with personal financial issues affecting ADF members and their families? Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter with topical articles by a range of expert contributors.

2LT
AB
AC/W
ACM
ADM
AIRCDRE
AIRMSHL
ASLT
AVM
BRIG
CAPT
CDRE
CMDR
COL
CPL
CPL/BDR
CPO
DR
FLGOFF
FLTLT
FSGT
GEN
GPCAPT
LAC/W
LCDR
LCPL/LBDR
LEUT
LS
LT
LTCOL
LTGEN
MAJ
MAJGEN
MIDN
MR
MRS
MS
NCOCDT
OCDT
OFFCDT
PLTOFF
PO
PTE
RADM
RSM-A
SBLT
SQNLDR
SSGT
VADM
WGCDR
WO
WO-N
WO1
WO2
WOFF
WOFF-AF
Other

NEED HELP?

WE ARE HERE TO ASSIST

GET IN TOUCH