People ask me what should a financial planner do?

Well if I were to write a book on financial planning, I could write a few chapters on this topic. One thing however he MUST do is ask you a lot of questions – some painful. For example when I talk to a new, unknown person who wants some kind of help in planning, some of the questions they find difficult to answer are:

How do you feel about begging? (Yuck!).

If you wiped out your portfolio whom would you turn to for food? Will you be able to ask?

If you have enough money why are you working?

If your wife wants more time with you, will you quit your job? And let the trip to Switzerland vanish? What is more important – your wife’s ‘public posture of wanting time with you’ or her real stand of ‘a holiday in the Alps’?

When you know that you are not disciplined to control your spending, why do you go to a mall with your credit cards?

If you were to ‘help’ somebody, and that person took the money to spend on something YOU THOUGHT was frivolous, how would you react?

Have you ever stolen as a child? Did you confess to your parents? If not, can you do it now?

Do you have much more money at age 55 than you thought you will have at age 22? If so why are you working?

Because you can afford a few more THINGs than your father (perhaps) do you consider yourself more successful or lucky to have been in a higher growth rate economy?

..why so many questions?

Because answer to all this SHAPE your attitude towards money. Not just what you have in the bank. Money to me is a commodity – and lets you buy what you THINK you need at a point in time.

Too bad it never asks you 30 minutes later whether what you did was sensible or not 🙂

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  1. Agree with you on your questions. However, How do you differentiate between a person being frugal and miser ? What could be a unnecessary for you might be an obligation for someone else. Different people have different needs so guess its very difficult to answer all the questions above.

  2. Honestly I feel it’s time you wrote a book 🙂
    There will be a lot the common man (at least the typical nuclear family head with single child and no checks and balances of joint family type) has to learn from it in order to save us from going the west way in financial terms…


  3. You touched a RAW nerve. Just got back from a family holiday @ Alps. If I show this article to my wife she will think I planted Alps in your article!

    Anyway a good article – knowing what will give us pleasure is tough. You spend thinking it will give pleasure, then afterwards wonder why that 48k camera is lying unused! Better to spend on vacations – you forget the airport delays, upset stomach, etc. You come back and talk about ‘A great vacation’ . Doing better than Owning.

  4. Subra,

    Loved the questions! I know answers to all of them 🙂 since I was a teenager.

    Will surely get my kid to see this.

  5. Loved your last line Subra!! It’s perfectly written and the meaning really hits hard! Attitude to money comes from many things and it changes over time, as life’s events take hold.

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