A few months ago, I attended a workshop on personal finance. It proved to be an eye-opener for most participants (myself included) and there was a feedback form to be filled at the conclusion.
The last question asked was, ‘would you be interested in retaining the services of a professional financial planner?’ Apparently, most of those who attended replied that they would not.
The irony struck me – during the workshop, as one error after the other being made by the participants was being revealed and its impact explained; the financial planner conducting the workshop was being revered almost as if he was God himself.
Experiences of being misguided by ‘free’ advisors (usually a life insurance agent doubling up as a jack of all trades) were freely shared by all.
However, the minute it came to paying for professional services, everyone immediately backed off.
This is perhaps, one of the biggest changes we need to bring about within ourselves during year 2014.
As Harsh Roongta, CEO, Apnapaisa.com and a financial planner, points out, if you want expert advice that will save you or earn you several lakh rupees, you must be prepared to pay a few pre specified thousands as annual retainer fees for that professional guidance. Free advice has its limitations and could actually do harm going forward, especially if the person makes his living off commissions on the products he recommends you to buy.
Sumeet Vaid, CEO, Ffreedom financial planners, explains that once you decide to approach a financial planner for managing your finances, take some time to think what it is that you wish to accomplish and when do you want to accomplish it. Ensure that the plan prepared by him is customised based on your personal needs. Above all, remember that your planner is not a magician. Fixing your finances takes time. Also there are risks to every investment. Have faith in your planner and plod along the path he has shaped for your financial freedom.
Make it happen
A committed family man, Ganesh had this dream of taking his entire family including his parents and his in-laws on a vacation out of India. He had always wanted to do this but somehow he worried whether it is something he could afford. Ffreedom financial planners helped him make that elusive dream a reality. With financial planning, he realized that he was more or less comfortably placed to handle most of his important commitments and that he could afford to go on that vacation. This year was a Thailand holiday for Ganesh’s family and it looks like they had a wonderful time. He has now included another goal in his plan - that of wanting to go on such vacations every three years with his happy extended family.