Very few people even think they need financial advise. The usual reasons why people think (or they tell me) are as follows:

1. I do not earn enough to seek the services of an advisor: Well, well anybody and everybody thinks that their income is just too small for them to seek the services of an ‘outsider’ with whom to share their finances. If their income were just a little more (on an average about 30% more) they would need a person to tell them on what to do with their money.

2. I am a CA (MBA, or any other degree can be substituted as per the situation)- and I know to do my own financial planning. My view: no education in India prepares you for handling personal finances. It has to be a combination of education, networking, experience, meeting people in various industries, etc. which helps in becoming a good adviser – not just a degree.

3. My Dad (Mom, friend, grandfather, neighbor, ....substitute any word) handles my portfolio! – Well if he has not set the Thames or the Ganges on fire he may not be the best adviser. However it is impossible for the ‘outsider’ to ever give an answer contrary to the ‘home bound’ adviser. God save the adviser if he dares to argue with the ‘Dad’. Afterall Dad WILL NOT CHEAT, WIL HE?.

4. I have done SIPs in Hdfc top 200, Icici Prudential Discovery, Reliance Growth, Reliance Vision, DSP Top 100, Birla Sunlife Tax Saver, Sundaram Taxsaver, Kotak K30, …and about 10 other funds. I do not need an advisor to tell me this, na? An adviser may not have done things different from what I have done, so why incur the expense of an adviser? I keep seeing valuable websites and change the schemes as their performance starts slipping. I shuffle my portfolio about once a year – and save valuable ‘fees’ that the adviser would charge me every time there is a change in the portfolio.

5. I just bought a nice big house in Mumbai for Rs. 1.35 crores – and did not use an adviser. Why should I use one when I do a small SIP of Rs. 50,000 per month?

6. I do not want anybody to know where I have invested, what houses I have bought, which equity shares I have bought, etc. so I do it myself.

7. I do not like mutual funds – I do my own portfolio construction. I have a clear 3-5 year range – and I normally hold for about 4 years. I invest only in blue chips like L&T, SBI, Hdfc, Tata Motors, Ntpc, Hindalco, etc. Even though currently my portfolio is about 30% down from the purchase price, I do not have any loss booked. I will sell only after I recover my costs.

My view: L O L, what else to do except laugh?

8. My broker is my adviser- he tells me what to buy, so I do not need an adviser,

9. I work in a bank – and I know what to buy and what sectors will do well. So clearly I will invest what my RM tells me, I do not need an adviser.

10. I have a ULIP and a few Endowment policies – what can an adviser do for me that I have not already done?

8.

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  1. You have missed out on one good reason. I do not need an advisor because I do
    not trust most of them. The advisor I went to four years ago asked me to put
    my money in an endowment policy( 10 lakhs with an annual premium of 1 lakh) and in a ULIP in which he had personal interests. I surrendered the above at a loss
    and have been putting my money in term insurance and mutual funds and stocks.
    I am better off at present. I take my own decisions after doing my own homework.
    Once bitten twice shy. Vinod.

  2. Step one is to choose a good adviser, understand the product and then invest. I am not even saying everybody needs help in investing, but out of 3000 odd people I have met 10 have done sensible things. All others have fantastic justifications for their mistakes, but their portfolios are s….d.

    The Financial industry is such a fantastic origami that very few people can do a reverse financial engineering to understand complex products.

    Odds are heavily stacked in favor of the industry – just like medicine.

  3. Isn’t point 2 heavy handed? In oyur blog, you give some examples of CA who can’t manage their personal finances, but those are exceptions (not average, for sure). I guess people are not that stupid.

    I think if you can read a newspaper and classify assets in risk/return ratio, that is enough. There are only handful of asset classes – gold, debt, equity, real estate. Knowing risk/return ratio of each class is not a big deal. I can safely assume that short term debt fund in India will always return at least 99% of my principal. I know that. Everybody knows that. (And Many people know that ULIPs still charge more than 4% per year for mannaging money.)

    And if US pension funds can be fooled to by toxic assets (with AAA ratings), so can advisor. So advisor may not be good at assessing the risk.

    Most important point is, how to ensure that my advisor is more knowledgeable than me? Can he really take call on future trends?

    In fact, you are also proponent of keeping things simple. If we have to keep it simple, then why to have advisor? Can’t I know simple things from your blog? πŸ™‚

  4. Subra Sir,

    I agree with Vinod. Who do we turst?.. Most guys dont have any idea what they are talking about(including one gentleman running a financial website who started offering financial planning service recently.. I dont wish to name the website.. Iam sure you know who Iam reffering to) … It is extremely dangerous to hire a wrong financial advicer..

    I believe keep it simple..

    1. Do 2-3 MF ( One large cap , One Large+Mid cap , One Multi cap).. My bet is on DSP top 100/ HDFC top 200/ HDFC equity/ Put some money in Index fund (cheapest/lowest tracking error) when the market is attractive/ when u have excess money.
    2. Do your home work and invest in equities or trust a broker / Consultant. I trust Rohit Chauhan in this case. Keep it to an amount which u can take a loss of 50% or more without losing sleep 3. Rent a house (I Bought a house which is a big mistake)
    4. Make sure you pay all your CC bills on time ..
    5. Budget your expense
    6. Invest in PPF if you have any excess money
    7. Have adequate insurance (Term/Health/Home Insurance)
    8. Save adequately for retirement and start early..
    9. Pray that govt doesnt do anything stupid like going to war/ Mayawati/communist doesnt come to power e.t.c
    10. Read Subramoney, learn, kick yourself for your stupid mistakes and correct them.
    Karthik

  5. For all of you who think that Subramoney.com is a financial adviser, you are on Roller skates on a banana peel.

    I ridicule, criticize, amuse, scream at – all the players in the industry. It does not matter if they are banks, mutual funds, regulator, media, planners, brokers, etc. Many a time I may even educate.

    If you think reading Subramoney is enough to create your own financial plan, portfolio, etc. THINK AGAIN.

    MY OWN MONEY IS WITH A BROKER. He is a friend of 32 years and frankly has done a far, far, far superior work than what I could have done on my own.

    I write for fun, make enough money on the blog to pay for the hosting charges (which means I am not cash flow negative on running my blog) – but frankly beyond my ego satisfaction that I write, there is no financial stake in subramoney.com.

    Searching for and getting a good planner is NOT EASY – but it can be the best spent time.

    I tell planners – ‘it is the 97% of you who get the 3% of us a bad name’ LOL…

  6. @Karthik ‘including one gentleman running a financial website who started offering financial planning service recently.. I dont wish to name the website.. Iam sure you know who Iam reffering to)’
    however still sometime discussion by the readers is informative , and some articles also! till then enjoy it!

  7. liked the comments! Sanjay thinking he can find somebody who has seen tomorrow – Nostradamus as a planner perhaps? Liked your disclaimer on why you blog – I had always assumed that the blog can send people to your workshops. However I have not seen any workshops of yours for the general public…so I keep wondering what keeps you going.

    I am not convinced that blogging is a good way to get consultancy assignments. Most consultancy agreements have an unwritten mandate of massaging client’s ego – which you do not do πŸ™‚

  8. Subra sir

    I do agree that 99% of the population needs a good financial planner. But where and how to find the right one is the biggest challange as i feel 98% of the available so called planners are fake and cheats, 1% may be good and 1% are blogging, writing articles n books, speaking, running institutions… So poor chap’s like me get lucky to get in touch from the last 1% and is still looking for the 1% previous to that… :(.

  9. I assume that the regular readers of Subramoney would be well informed and probably can even be Do-It-Yourself (DIY) investor.

    But this group is not the representative sample of the investor population, which itself is miniscule in our country.

    It is not that the financial services or products which are only complex; we the investors are also very complex creatures.

    I do not know how you would define a good advisor. I think an advisor should have reasonable domain knowledge and most importantly should be a mentor in influencing the behaviour of an investor. More than what you do what you don’t do or should not do matters a lot.

    I’ve spoken above only on the investment aspect. As you are aware, personal finance is not only investments. Also once clients get comfortable, they utilize the advisor as an objective sounding board on lot of issues affecting the family on financial front.

    Like most of you, it seems that the regulator has also decided that there is no need for any advisors; if their latest concept paper gets implemented as it is.

    Then may be around few dozen people in the country who would call themselves advisors and rest all would be agents.

  10. Hey Bharat,

    my crib is that the quality of the articles have come down drastically. Now he caters to the popular demand and tells people what they want to hear. I still visit his website but more often than not find that the articles are of no use to me.

  11. This was an interesting post. In many other aspects of life, I have followed the maxim of “do your homework but also seek help from a domain expert”.

    Your blog post is a reminder to me that I should seek a financial adviser too.

    Any recommendations of a financial adviser in Bangalore ? I live in this city, and feel it may be ideal to meet a financial adviser in person.

  12. subra,
    if you think just reading subramoney and implementing your suggestion is NOT enough then it’s you who have to THINK πŸ™‚

    directly or indirectly we have gain good knowledge out of your writings…
    I understand that we(readers) may not be doing 100% right by reading your blog but I am sure those who do it sincerely must be good somewhere at 70 to 80% which I think is good than being at 0% or 10%
    anyhow, getting a planner who can do planning for our investment with 100% accuracy is also next to impossible(at least for now…don’t know about future)

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