How does Life Sherpa® work?
Life Sherpa® is a 100% online, financial advice service that helps you live the life you want with the money you have. Life Sherpa® combines its award-winning website resources with the empathy and trust you can only get from a real human who truly understand the needs of a new generation of Australians.
Life Sherpa’s website delivers a wealth of resources to help you assess where you are financially, uncover where you want to be and guide you towards your goals. Every member gets their own personal adviser (your Sherpa) who will guide you along the way.
How much does Life Sherpa® cost?
Life Sherpa® is free to get started for 30 days (no credit card required). After that its a low $15 per month with no lock in contracts. You can choose to pay for a year in advance for just $150 - pay for 10 months get 2 free.
What is different about Life Sherpa®?
We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to live a fulfilling and enriching life free from financial worry, whatever their personal means.
The key to achieving this is access to affordable advice and empowerment, which comes from true understanding.
Life Sherpa® delivers this through:
- Online tools that are engaging and insightful
- Knowledge that is simple, relevant and actionable
- Advice that is understandable, affordable and solely in your best interest.
We believe that there is an inherent conflict embedded in the financial planning industry that we work hard to avoid. Most firms are linked to banks or insurance companies and are built with the goal of selling financial products or earning commissions.
Life Sherpa® is independently Australian owned – we are not a bank, insurance company or fund manager nor are we owned by one. This means we are free to give you advice that is in your best interests.
Our staff are all employees and none of their remuneration is commission or otherwise dependent on the value of loans, insurance or investment products you buy.
What kind of tools do I get using Life Sherpa® online?
An example of our unique and proprietary tools is our Financial Freedom Factor tool. Based on Life Sherpa’s “Eight Steps to Financial Freedom”, our Financial Freedom Factor tool is at the heart of the Life Sherpa® service.
It’s easy to get started: just answer a series of multi-choice questions and you get a score on each of the Eight Steps – revealing your strengths and areas for improvement. You get a score and a series of tips and exercises to complete for each area. By completing the activities your score increases, reflecting your progress towards improved financial health. As you progress, the system identifies areas where you would benefit from a personal consultation with your Sherpa and collects and stores the information we need to personalize the advice we give.
Can Life Sherpa® help me buy financial products like insurance, super and investments?
Yes. Life Sherpa® is licenced by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to identify the right product for you at the right price and work through the paperwork to make it happen.
We know that price is important, but making sure it’s right the right product for your circumstances requires the skill of an experienced adviser – something internet comparison sites simply can’t deliver.
To ensure you get a great deal, we give you cash back from the commissions included in most financial products. This cash back will save you money when you buy and over the life of the product.
Can Life Sherpa® help me with my home loan?
Yes. Life Sherpa® is licenced by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to identify a home loan that’s right for you at the right price and work through the paperwork to make it happen.
We know that interest rate is important, but identifying the other features that could save you more over time requires the skill of an experienced adviser – something internet comparison sites simply can’t deliver.
To ensure you get a great deal, we give you cash back from the commissions included in most home loans. This cash back will save you money when you buy and over the life of the loan – helping you pay it off sooner.
Who is Life Sherpa® for?
Life Sherpa® is for a new generation of Australians looking to live the life they want with the money they have.
Life Sherpa® is for Australians who feel that traditional financial planners are not for them. This may be because they don’t have enough money to invest to interest a financial planner or their affairs aren’t complicated enough to justify the high fees they would charge.
Life Sherpa® is for Australians who don’t feel they will get the best advice from their bank or super fund.
Life Sherpa® is for Australians who think high commissions are unfair.
If any of that resonates, Life Sherpa® is for you.
If your primary source of income is from salaries and wages, or work as a contractor - and if you have less than $100,000 (other than your super) to invest - then Life Sherpa® is for you.
If you are looking for help with:
- Budgeting and managing your money
- Understanding how your money personality affects your spending and saving habits
- Assessing your financial health
- Managing your finances as a couple
- Dealing with Debt
- Understanding financial products
- Choosing a super fund and consolidating multiple super accounts
- Saving for a first home purchase (or paying off their existing one)
- Deciding what insurance you need, how much cover and which product/provider
- Deciding whether to salary sacrifice more super;
- Getting your financial housekeeping sorted
Then Life Sherpa® is for you.
Who is Life Sherpa® not suitable for?
Life Sherpa® is currently not suited to people who are not Australian tax payers, are already retired, run a business through a company that employs other people, have a self-managed super fund (SMSF) or family trust, or are seeking help managing a large investment portfolio.
If this is you, we can help with a referral to a suitable financial adviser.
What if I don't know anything about personal finance?
Then you're in the right place! Whether you're just starting your career, or perhaps taking over the family finances after a death or divorce, Life Sherpa® is the perfect place to start. No matter where you're starting from, Life Sherpa® will help you transform your finances using simple, achievable steps that don't feel overwhelming.
What if I don't have any money?
Then you're in the right place! Life Sherpa’s mission is to bring affordable financial advice to everyone no matter how much they have or how much they owe. And because we offer cash back with many products you might need help sourcing – like home loans or insurance – we’re even more affordable.
Why do I need a professional? Can't I figure this out on my own?
Everyone can benefit from some help in this area. In fact, we are confident that you will save many times your subscription fees by following the Life Sherpa® “Eight Steps to Financial Freedom” and through more appropriate financial products with our commission rebates.
If you have the time, interest and experience under your belt to confidently make decisions about your finances, create a debt payoff plan, analyze your budget, save for your kids' education (and the list goes on), then go for it! But if you're like the rest of us who find all the choices a little overwhelming, then you've come to the right place.
What kind of advice will I actually get for a monthly membership fee?
Your monthly subscription provides you with a range of benefits:
- Access to the website tools and resources including:
Financial Freedom tool
Money Personality report ($19.95 value)
- Access to member pricing on advice on implementation for:
- Free Home loan health check: when you start and when your circumstances change, your Sherpa will review your home loan to make sure it’s still the right one for you
- Free Insurance health check: when you start and when your circumstances change, your Sherpa will review your coverage to make sure it’s still the right one for you and you are not paying for coverage you don’t need.
- Access to commission rebates (Cash Back) on insurance, investment and super products you already have
- Advice on Home Loans and Insurance with commission rebates (Cash Back)
- Your own Sherpa – your personal adviser who will guide you along the way. You can contact your Sherpa for specific questions you may have. Your Sherpa can answer questions you have about the Life Sherpa® service or general questions about your finances. This is intended for questions where the answer does not involve a recommendation to buy, change or dispose of a specific financial product.
- Watchlist – list products (such as your super fund, or term deposit) that you would like us to keep an eye on. For example changes to the management or philosophy of your super fund could mean it is no longer right for you. Alternatively, you might have a term deposit with a special introductory interest rate. Add these products to your watchlist and your Sherpa will alert you to the expiry of your introductory rate or to changes that might mean you need to revisit your choice of super fund.
What if I'm not in Australia?
That depends. If you're not an Australian tax payer with most of your financial accounts located outside Australia, we're unfortunately unable to serve you at this time.
If you're an Australian tax payer with predominantly Australian-based accounts, but are currently overseas, we can likely help you. Your Sherpa may be able to help you in relation to your Australian assets and debts, but won't be able to advise you on any accounts in your home country or the taxation impacts in countries other than Australia.
Will Life Sherpa® hold any of my money or place any trades for me?
We do not hold money or assets or place trades for our members. Our philosophy is to work with our members and empower them to control their own finances.
We will work with you to develop the right plan that meets your needs, and give you step-by-step guidance on how to put it into motion in a smart, efficient way.
We will deal with the paperwork and recommend the right products, but ultimately you are in control.
How do I make changes to my membership if my circumstances change?
We know that stuff happens and things can change. That’s why we have no lock-in contracts. Your membership is payable month-to-month. You can upgrade, downgrade or cancel online at up to 3 days before your next charge.
Cancellation will be effective at the expiry of the period you have paid for.
When you cancel your account, you will no longer have access to your Sherpa, the website or any cashback payments you were receiving. But we find that in most cases your cashback payment will exceed your monthly subscription fee.
How do you help me stay on track with the advice you give me?
We have multiple ways to stay in touch with you: through emails and online chat, as well as over the phone if required. Your Sherpa is your personal guide and will help keep you on track as well as giving you personal advice when you need it.
Your Financial Freedom score is a great measure of your progress. As your score increases you get closer to your goals. We’ll keep an eye on it and nudge you along the way.
Life Sherpa® is nonjudgmental. They are your goals; we’re here to help you get there.
I'm having trouble filling out my profile, what can I do?
You can always ask your Sherpa. Here a few tips that will help.
- Don’t try to complete your Financial Life profile in one go. Use the Financial Freedom Factor tool as your guide. As you progress through the tool it will prompt you to complete the relevant sections of your financial profile.
- Get started by completing the ‘About Me’ section. This should only take you a minute or two to complete.
- If you don’t know an answer, or don’t have the information in front of you, then an estimate is fine in the short term. You can always go back and put in the exact answer later.
For example, you might not know exactly how much money is in your super fund, but think it might be about $30,000. That’s enough to get started. We want you to start getting an idea of what you should be focusing on with minimal fuss.
Why do you need to know personal information, like how much I earn?
Don’t worry we guard it carefully and it never gets shared with anyone! Unless of course, you ask us to, or we are required to by law.
Life Sherpa® provides you with advice that is specific to your personal circumstances. This can only be as good as the information you provide. If you do not provide this information or it is incomplete or inaccurate, our advice may not be appropriate.
Your family circumstances, income, personality profile, goals and objectives as well as things you already own (your home, investment property, super and investments), how much you owe (credit cards, mortgages ), how much you earn and how you make it, your credit report and your health and lifestyle can all affect our advice.
Is Life Sherpa® a comparison service?
Life Sherpa® is not a product comparison service. We provide a full personal advice service and help deal with the paperwork to put your plans in place - and we rebate to you the commissions paid on the products. This allows us to focus 100% on advice that is in your best interests.
In contrast comparison sites provide information on features and pricing of a select list of products from a number of providers – usually only those that pay them a commission. They are usually not able to take into account your personal circumstances and are heavily incentivized to direct you to the product that pays the highest commission.
Is Life Sherpa® a commission refund service?
Life Sherpa® cashback shouldn’t be confused with other commission refund services that offer a No Advice facility. That is you nominate them as your servicing adviser, allowing them to collect the trail commissions. They then deduct a handling fee and pay you the balance. But importantly, they don’t provide the advice the commission is supposed to pay for.
In contrast, Life Sherpa® provides its members with the right advice when it’s needed. We collect the commissions for you, deduct our simple transparent fee for advice and pay you any commissions above this. Imagine, Cash Back AND the advice you need.
How does Life Sherpa® Cash Back work?
Almost every time you buy insurance, invest in a fund or take out a home loan, there is a built-in commission paid to someone. Australians pay billions of dollars in trailing commissions on financial products every year. You can bet some of that money is yours.
You can get a refund of the commission on products you already own.
All you have to do is complete a simple form to register your insurance, super or managed fund and tell us where to pay the refund. We will collect and refund the commission direct to your bank account every month. Nothing changes with your product – same premium, same cover, same returns, same fees. All that happens is that Life Sherpa® becomes your servicing adviser, delivering the advice the trail commission is supposed to pay for and putting cash back in your pocket.
You pay no commissions on products you buy through us.
When you buy a home loan or insurance policy through Life Sherpa®, the bank or insurance company will pay us upfront commission at commencement and a trail commission periodically while you continue to have the loan or policy. We will deduct our fee from these payments and refund the balance to your nominated bank account. You cannot get past commission back, so arrange your refund now. With each week that passes, you waste more of your money on commission and it’s gone forever.
In fact anyone who has a home loan of $320,000 or more or pays $4,500 in insurance premiums annually will receive more in refunds than the cost of their Life Sherpa® subscription.
What products do you deal with?
Life Sherpa® does not have any relationships with product providers that limit which products it deals with.
Life Sherpa® can provide you with advice and arrange for you to acquire credit products (home loans, credit cards, personal loans and car loans), life insurance products (life, trauma, tpd and income protection), superannuation funds and investment products (shares, managed funds and ETFs) as well as bank deposits.
For each of these classes of products we have selected a range of providers with whom we deal based on our assessment of those providers and their products and the needs of Life Sherpa® members.
For home loans, we maintain a panel of over 30 lenders who together make up more than 95% of the market.
For insurance, we have distribution arrangements with 12 of the leading insurers chosen based on our research.
We maintain an approved product list for superannuation funds and investments which changes from time to time based on our research.
Who will provide the advice to me?
All Life Sherpa® members are assigned a Sherpa. Your Sherpa is your personal adviser whose job is to ensure you get the best out of your membership and to keep you on track.
All advice provided to Life Sherpa® members is provided by our employees. We do not act as a referral or lead generation service for others. This allows us to maintain quality control, ensuring you get the best advice at the right price.
Do I need a separate subscription for my partner?
No. Life Sherpa® is designed to be used by individuals or couples who share their finances. Our monthly fee is for the account.
One of you will need to be the primary account holder and the account will be in their name. It doesn’t matter which of you chooses to be the account holder, but it is best if this is the person who takes most responsibility for researching and managing your finances.
Most areas of the site allow you to enter the owner of any asset or debt (me, my partner, joint) to allow you to record who owns what.
We will provide advice taking into account your relationship status.
If you start off as single and then have the good fortune to marry another Life Sherpa® member, and you want us to start treating you as a couple you will need to choose one account to retain. You can cancel the other one saving you a monthly subscription.
What do I get if I pay extra for additional services?
In addition to the benefits of your monthly membership, you may from time to time require additional services which may attract an additional fee. These include:
Complete Cashflow Plan
An additional fee gets you your own personal one-on-one budget coach who works with you to track your spending, allocate and prioritise expenses and importantly, maintain your lifestyle. With video or phone calls, monthly reports and regular actionable insights, your Compete Cashflow Plan keeps you on track.
Personal Super Plan
For a fixed one-off fee, your Sherpa will find your lost super, round it all up, recommend the right fund and investment option for your circumstances and sort out the paperwork for you.
Personal Debt Elimination Plan.
For a fixed one-off fee, your Sherpa will help you work out what you owe and develop a plan to pay it off based on what you can afford. You get a personalized plan showing you the month by month payments that will slay your debt.
Personal Investment Plan
Whether you have a lump sum to invest or a regular sum you want to set aside, for a fixed one-off fee, your Sherpa will show you how to make the most of it based on your objectives, time frame and tolerance for risk.
Services where we pay you
Personal Home Loan Plan
From pre-approval to settlement and beyond, your Sherpa does the legwork to find the right home loan for your life. We make the home loan process easy for you, and our Cash Back program puts money back in your pocket every year for the life of your loan.
Personal Insurance Plan
Your Sherpa will work out how much insurance you really need, get you the best deal and be there for you when you need to claim. We make the whole process easy, and our cash Back program puts money back in your pocket every year for the life of your policy.
Who is my Sherpa?
All Life Sherpa® members are assigned their own Sherpa. Part coach, part therapist, part financial adviser, your Sherpa is there to guide you along the way.
When it’s time to get specific advice on your debts, super, insurance, investments or home loan, your Sherpa will find the right product at the right price and sort out the paper work for you.
Your Sherpa will be a licenced financial planner or mortgage broker (or both) and an employee of Life Sherpa®.
What qualifications do Sherpas have?
All our Sherpas are university degree qualified or have relevant industry qualifications. Most also have professional qualifications such as Chartered Accountant, Certified Financial Planner, Fellow Chartered Financial Practitioner or similar. They exceed the requirements for licencing set down by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission for financial advisers or mortgage brokers.
Is my subscription (or other fees) tax deductible?
Fees paid for financial advice can be deductible for tax under some circumstances. Check with your Sherpa or accountant based on your specific circumstances.
- Fees in relation to debt management where the interest on the debt is deductible (investment loans)
- Fees in relation to Investments if it relates to existing investments but not if it relates to new or proposed investments.
- Fees in relation to an income protection policy
- Fees in relation to tax planning
- Fees in relation to Superannuation and retirement planning (Although these fees can often be paid from your super fund.
Fees in relation to Estate planning
How do I contact my Sherpa
Is my information safe?
Don’t worry, we recognise the trust you have placed in us and so we guard your information carefully and it never gets shared with anyone! Unless of course, you ask us to, or we are required to by law.
We don’t like SPAM, so we won’t sell or rent your email address to anyone.
We take strong measures to protect Life Sherpa® and your information from unauthorised access. Virtual firewalls control traffic and protect your information. Latest best-practice encryption techniques protect your password, and all traffic between you and Life Sherpa's servers. From the time you submit your login credentials, communications between your computer and lifesherpa.com.au are encrypted. The security of your Life Sherpa® account is maintained with disk storage encryption and authentication measures. Our servers are located in a highly secure facility, where access requires multiple levels of authentication and recognition procedures. Your password cannot be recovered, even by us. Learn more in our Privacy Statement.
How does Life Sherpa® deliver advice so affordably and still make money?
We made Life Sherpa® affordable by cutting out the ‘extras’ like fancy offices, home visits and call-centres. What’s left is what matters: jargon free advice that’s personally tailored, tools and resources that help build confidence around money matters.
We think that commissions provide the wrong incentive which can lead to inappropriate advice. That’s why we rebate any commissions paid to us by product providers (banks, insurance companies and fund managers). This allows us to focus 100% on advice that is in your best interests.
Is Life Sherpa® licenced?
Life Sherpa® is licenced by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to provide advice on a range of financial products (including bank deposits, insurance, super, shares and managed funds) and to help you acquire, change or sell these products.
Life Sherpa® is also is licenced by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to provide advice on home loans and other debt products.
Life Sherpa® is registered with the Tax Practitioners Board as a tax (financial) adviser.
Further details are included in our Combined Financial Services and Credit Guide
Who is behind Life Sherpa®?
Life Sherpa® was founded by Vince Scully and is independently Australian owned. Vince has over 30 years experience in finance and is the author of 'The Latte Fallacy (and other money myths)'.
Does Life Sherpa® take into account ethical and environmental issues when selecting products?
We know that to a significant number of people these issues are important when selecting an investment or other product. We have researched and identified products which can meet the needs of most people in this area.
Tell your Sherpa your desires whether that be environmental, a desire to avoid certain industries or to meet specific religious or ethical criteria. We will then take these into account when providing you with advice and recommendations. Otherwise we will provide advice in your best interests without considering these items explicitly.