Growing demand for aged care advisers


By Megan Tran

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The complexity and technical nature of aged care advice is driving a shortage of specialist financial planners in the industry, according to Affinity Wealth Services.

Speaking to financialobserver, Affinity founder and senior partner Keith Jones said aged care advisers needed a high degree of empathy for what was often an emotional journey for their clients rather than simply a financial transaction.

Knowledge in tax, estate planning and the workings of Centrelink and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs were some of the issues that set apart an aged care specialist from a regular financial planner, Jones said.

He added that when hiring qualified advisers, some with more than 20 years’ experience, more training was needed for them to become experienced aged care advisers, usually between a year and 18 months.

“You can’t learn it in a few days on an aged care course. It’s a very complex area,” Jones said.

He said while some planners had occasionally worked with aged care clients during their career, their lack of exposure and practical experience at implementing strategies meant they were not fully qualified to deal with this sector.

“In most cases they’re counsellors as much as financial planners, especially when dealing with multiple personalities within a family group,” he said.

Affinity aged care adviser Patrick Gleeson said aged care specialists needed soft skills, likening the area to social work more than financial planning.

“Just giving people confidence, as [the children] often feel guilt and frustration. Quite often there are cognitive issues with Mum and Dad,” Gleeson said.

Affinity partner Kate Golder said female advisers could be ideal for this role as it could be tailored around family commitments, but the pool of female specialists in the aged care space was small.

“Females are harder to get as … they are already snapped up for roles in the financial planning sector. Hopefully as [the aged care sector] grows more will be prepared to go into this area,” Golder said.

Affinity has offices in Sydney and Brisbane with 36 staff in total and six advisers specialising in aged care, but Jones indicated the Sydney office in particular was set for rapid expansion.

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