Mr. Sudesh was working with an IT firm. He was doing well for himself and his family. He was part of the middle management team and was working on a decent salary with an annual bonus. He used to plan for everything, be it vacation or admission of his two daughters at school. In his group, he was known as a disciplined person who manages everything well on his own. But when it came to financial planning, his approach was as orthodox as it can be, as he also believed that financial planning and wealth management is for wealthy people and he doesn’t need such services.
He used to save his money in different asset classes like many people do but without any classification of “purpose “and “need analysis “. After a few years, Mr. Sudesh found himself being forced to leave his job as his industry was going through a bad phase. Now he was struggling with finances. After working for 20 years, he was unable to fund his new business and neither he was able to fund his family expenses. For him, Equity was risky, term insurance was an unnecessary cost and investing in the mutual fund was all about picking top one-year performing funds.
Was his approach right?
Financial planning is a very important aspect of today’s life. Like a doctor cannot do his own operation, the same way we cannot do everything on our own. The most dangerous things in any financial planning are mainly 2 things time and the right product.
There are 5 important “Myth” about financial planning, they are:
1. It is only for wealthy people: The the biggest myth about financial planning is that it is only for wealthy people because these services are available to them only who have a large chunk of money. It is totally wrong, if you have a financial goal then you are eligible for a financial adviser. A financial adviser is the right person to choose the right mix of products which caters to each aspect of financial goals be it investments or risk management. A financial planner always understands your needs and goals with a certain time limit then he chooses the right product mix for your needs.
2. I know everything as I know how to earn then I know how to manage: You cannot be a jack of all trades. Yes, that’s right that you know how to earn but not necessarily how to manage by looking at the future prospects. The biggest problem in this is that we intend to go bias and give wrong priority to wrong investments or risk management. But a financial advisor always looks things with the right future prospect and helps you in achieving financial goals with a high level of risk management.
3. It is too early: At 25 age, we think it is too early to think about financial planning, at 30 age we start thinking about and actually start financial planning at age of 35 and sincere efforts we take after 40 only. This is the biggest blunder we do in our life. When liabilities are less we invest nil or less and when liabilities arises then we start thinking about it but actually by the time we have lost 10-15 most precious year where we can get a cheap term plan ( for lifelong ) or Longer period for a small amount of investment. We take the burden of lump-sum investment after age 40 for a better multiplier on investment. Which we should have avoided by doing small investment at the starting age of 25 when we entered in the job. The basic principle of investment is the principal of financial planning, which is “sooner the better “.
4. I own my mistakes why should I trust anyone else: Like you can go wrong, your financial planner can also go wrong in some planning but the core essence of financial planning is an evaluation which allows the financial adviser to review asset class or risk management tools time to time. It helps in changing the product mix and to reshuffle the mechanism. Financial planner generally keeps a target of 110% so that if the error possibility of 10% arises still you achieve your desired goals.
5. Anyone who knows tax or banking can be financial adviser: Trust me this is the biggest myth about financial planning that anyone who knows tax planning or his liquidity position; he can do his financial planning. Banking is all about money management through saving bank account, fixed deposit, loans not beyond that. Similarly, a tax consultant can always advise you based on taxation. But a Financial Adviser covers everything, starting from liquid money management like you should always keep up to 3 months of salary in the bank account, and 3 months’ salary for emergency funds in some fixed deposit or liquid funds which can be accessed immediately when needed. Then he will come to investment and risk management. Financial adviser always works with cash inflow analysis to cash outflow analysis. He always talks about short term goals to midterm goals and midterm goals to long term goals.
Much of disaster happens in financial planning when we take advice from relatives who invested in different asset class. He may yield good return but that doesn’t mean that his financial planning will help you. Financial planning is not only about generating good returns, it covers each aspect of financial health.
As I stated earlier, we need a special person for a specialist job. Like an ENT specialist cannot do the job of a heart surgeon. Same stands for self-financial planning. We are bound to get bias and product-oriented. We need a specialist who understands the needs of financial goals and understands how to achieve them.
“Financial planning is the core essence of today’s risky life it helps you in achieving important goals of life “
(Author is Mr. Rohit Khandelwal; He is a certified Mutual fund and IRDA adviser. He is associated with www.moneymatters.co.in) Disclaimer: These are the author’s personal views.