The number of people offering financial advice is booming. India is expecting the wealth business to double in the next 5 years, or even earlier. Banks are masquerading as financial experts and clients are likely to pay a price for not understanding banker;s double talk.
So do you need to hire a personal finance adviser? In most jobs like fixing a car, or photography, we realize that we can do about 70% of what a professional can do. While going on a picnic we do the photographer’s job ourselves, but while planning a wedding, we prefer outsourcing the photography. Unlike that in case of financial planning, we could take an all or none view.
Let us see who are the people who should try to do their own financial planning, and manage their own money,
1. You enjoy reading about financial planning, taxation, investments, mathematics, markets, behavioral finance, etc. Enjoy means you should really be willing to steal time from your other activities to do this. This should not feel like work, it should feel like leisure. Also do remember that enjoying reading about investments but hating taxation does not qualify. You need to be balanced in your knowledge and love for the subject.
2. You work about 5 hour days, 5 days a week: If you are putting in 70 hour weeks it is extremely unlikely that you will want to find time to do all the paper work! Immaterial of what people tell you, investing, record keeping, taxation – are nice to read at a theory level, but doing it at a practical level is very painful. Once you start doing, you may start substituting luxury called time! Also if you have a nice tenured job with indexed pension, you can find time. However all of us may not have a sinecure. Then what?
3. Your social life is likely to take a hit, because of the time involved – do an objective analysis.
4. Money is not an infinite resource, sure. However energy, enthusiasm, social life – these might be in short supply!!
5. Doing at a tactical level and doing at the ground level are different. Exactly like a Marketing manager making his projections in an airconditioned room, and the Sales Manager implementing that on the ground. Big difference.
6. You have to be unbiased, and be able to systematically analyze your current status, and be able to plan for the future.
7. Check whether you are giving too much credit for your managerial skills. Many of us overestimate our skills, energy levels, and diligence.
8. You have to be confident of making decisions – financial – and with the risk that things like Retirement have very little scope for error, and good professional help is WORTH paying for.
9. You do not need any financial hand holding, can handle volatility, can handle retirement planning, know the difference between an annuity and a pension plan, and have helped a few others do this, albeit as a friend.
10. When in doubt people turn to you for their financial understanding.
11. You have always liked to do things on your own. Even if you have hired a good doctor your main source of medical understanding is Google.
12. You are savvy enough to know that PPF, LiC, annuity, equities, are all an integral part of retirement planning, HOWEVER, they all have their limitations.
I could go on and on.
I know why some of my best friends who are capable of managing their own money (equity portfolio to last a few lifetimes), they realize that financial planning is way beyond just some financial management. In fact financial management is about 40% in proper financial planning !!
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