Doctor and a Financial Planner? Do you find any relationship or matches of likenesses? Trust, faith, practice, approach, diagnosis, prescription. Do they follow the same process of diagnosis and then a prescription? Also, they fall under the same category of Professionals and of course, noble professions! If you wanted to know more about this need to understand the matches between your financial planner and your family doctor, then this blog is for you!
When I was a small child, the entire family children were growing up to be either doctors or engineers. So, It was a natural "choice" to try and become a doctor! A very noble profession, so it appeared. All these cousins started their practice, and when I used to visit them, I liked them a lot. Destiny and of course my luck didn't make me a doctor! But the need to get into a noble profession, like a doctor, seemed to chase my mind!
When my father needed medical help, we found an excellent cardiologist in AIIMS. We used to take him at regular intervals, and whatever the doctor prescribed, we used to follow the same. There was a significant trust factor and faith in that doctor. He became a family friend, and we used to like meeting him as a family.
I did complete my MBA from IMI, New Delhi but the dream of pursuing that noble profession was still in my mind.
During my years of selling insurance policies and later mutual funds alone, I realised that I was being driven towards a dilemma! To choose between ethical selling and looking after the interest of my clients as one approach. I followed this procedure as I was always working towards the "fiduciary" responsibility of my client's interest first. Meanwhile, the second path, was very fast becoming more financially remunerative! How? It didn't involve ethical selling and had least fiduciary interest. I was feeling the heat of low financial remuneration, but continued working, thinking it as a noble profession!
Then came the point when I visited the USA and attended the worldwide participated MDRT (Million-Dollar-Round-Table) conference. It startled me into exploring the larger world of personal finance and include the bigger picture of my client's financial life. It made me start thinking of having a broader perspective of all-round financial well- being of my clients and get remunerated well for giving advice. I started giving advice first and charging money for it. This soon became the starting point and made me satisfied, though with little fee-based advice money coming in. It needed more research and in-depth analysis of all kinds of financial products.
My pursuit of seeking knowledge and acquiring wisdom continued...and was still looking for joining a noble profession!
I joined many courses and attended many seminars during the next five years to make my journey of being a successful entrepreneur meaningful. This brought me in close contact with many insurance and mutual fund agents. They advocated high commission products and claimed to be keeping their client's interest also. I started looking deeper...
I realised that how can a doctor prescribe medicines which were from a particular pharmaceutical company. Medications prescribed by most of the doctors are all of a "brand" and have to be bought as per the prescription was given by the doctor. Meaning that the doctors (have to) earn some money from a percentage, chemist also has to do the same way.
When I consulted my doctor cousins in faith, they revealed that is how the pharmaceutical industry works, and doctors too get compensated by prescribing certain brand drugs. "Are there any Unbranded drugs available also for the same ailment which I can buy without changing the chemical prescription?", I asked them. They replied:" Yes, these are called as generic drugs and cost about 15 % of the MRP of those branded drugs (as given in this google search). I came to know that it is the same concept and price difference world over!
This small revelation made me think about my (noble) profession dream and made me feel over again to accomplish my dream!
- Give advice and get paid for it.
- Give Prescription for Generic drugs like idea from the doctors
- Make a decent earning out of this "new Profession"! Noble also!
If the new profession could bring me the income as well as let me continue my pursuit of being in a noble profession, could the new profession bring me all the joy and happiness? I continued to pursue my dream!
Later, an opportunity came, and I completed my CFPCM (CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERCM). This was when my dream of being in a noble profession came true, and I felt a great feeling to be amongst the top professionals in the world. To be able to give advice to people about money! To help people fulfil their dreams.
Pursuing the five rigorous examinations of CFPCM(CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERCM) wasn't an easy task. It took me two years of whole time study and then giving each exam. My motivation was only the power of my mind and then a systematic technical approach which made me successful.
Now I had a worldwide recognised certification similar to a CA or an MD Doctor.
Soon after I got, this certification came a government notification, which made it mandatory for all those giving advice as a financial professional to register themselves or their firm. The new law brought about a change the way people " bought" advice from a financial expert. Read more about this new law in my blog on the role of an investment advisor.
This new law brought more distinction between going to a chemist and a doctor. Also, the doctor could not earn any commission out of the (branded) drugs he sold but had to give neutral advice, similar to a generic drug (as explained above in my blog). For example, the difference here was buying direct mutual funds and regular mutual funds. There is a small difference, but could become huge in rupees over an extended period of time.
This brought me closer to what I wanted to pursue. Noble Profession. Now better than a doctor also. I was now making a diagnosis, understanding the need and then writing out a prescription. All for a fee only. Fee-only. This brought out the following benefits to my clients seeking advice:
- No conflict of interest
- Fiduciary responsibility is taken care by me
- Transparency at every step
- No miss-selling of any financial product.
- Goal-based financial planning
- Risk Profiling is done first, then equity-debt allocation
- Freedom to choose investment channels like direct mutual fund where there was no commission at all.
A financial planner works as a doctor in your and your family's personal finance.
Why do you need to make your financial planner like your family doctor?
Here are the top seven reasons:
- A Financial planner would work very closely to study your family's financial health. You may call this as a process. Like a doctor, he first makes a diagnosis, then prescribes. Financial planners have questionnaires and an online test to understand your situations in detail. These are procedures, and most professional planners have systems and such processes in place. This brings you confidence and saves you time and energy too. He would ask first for:
- Income of the family
- Expenses of all kinds of the entire family
- Where do you keep and invest?
- Your Loans and all liabilities
- Your Future Needs
- What are your financial goals (for every member)?
- What are family aspirations, desires and dreams?
- Where are the current investments lying and what are they worth?
- Make you understand the basics of personal finances
- Take you through a risk appetite test to evaluate your risk-taking ability regarding financial market understanding and investment risks of various kinds.
- Giving you complete knowledge and making you understand, everything in detail. You need to provide all relevant information. However, can you trust a financial planner like you can trust a doctor? Well, I am sworn in under two oaths like a doctor. First my CFPCM (CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERCM) and then the Government of India legislation called as SEBI (INVESTMENT ADVISERS) REGULATIONS, 2013. Both these required me to have client's interest first, ensure confidentiality and keep records. Under oath, I provide complete secrecy as all my client interactions are done in person and no uploading of any client information. The one on one meeting happen in my office and conversations remain entirely. Then only, my clients are able to tell me everything in full confidence!
- Financial Planner will continually educate you things which are relevant and vital to you: he will explain and inform all concerned with suggestions. Pros and cons of essential aspects of taxation. Moreover, implications of tax for each kind of investment are also discussed.
He will make sure and make you agree on options selected by you. Depending on the diagnosis and prescription, continuous monitoring of your financial health becomes critical during the review meeting. Altering medicines or re-evaluating your current health, your doctor ensures continuity in your goal of health you. Similarly, your financial planner endeavours to bring you and your financial investments up to date with your goals and current economic conditions prevailing. Conditions and assumptions are of the overall investment scenario are updated during regular financial plan review meetings. All your questions and doubts get cleared. Also, planners have a vast network with other related professionals. Like doctors who may recommend you to an Ultrasound or CT specialist. Planners recommend you to competent persons like CA, Advocates. This gives you complete faith and all-round service.
- Financial Planner endeavours to make your Financial Life Better and Better: Like your doctor does the overall synchronisation of your medicines with your updated tests, your planner synchronises various components of your finances and money. With life and health insurance, contingency fund, children's education and their marriage plans, your retirement and WILL and estate planning. Complete care of your money is done at various levels of financial planning.
- Financial Planners are certified and have necessary approvals: Like doctors who have knowledge, skills, planners also get knowledge and essential while requiring their certifications. Registration of firm makes us legal and following the law of the land while giving advice.
- They look into the Future! Yes, competent planners can look into your financial future and tell you what will work for you and what will not. This comes from a thorough understanding and studying many things like:
- Your financial background
- Market economic indicators
- Facts and figures available
- Various studies and research available
- Attending conferences, seminars, conventions and other such study circles.
- Personal research and study of matters of current importance
- News, Views and updates of relevant industries
- Product launches: Updates of their failures and successes.
- In Insurance particularly, studying claim settlement ratios before recommending particular insurance.
- The similarity between a doctor and a financial planner.
- Further, this blog made an attempt to give you more precise picture of ethical and best practices
- How and why you can trust your financial planner
- What are the areas studied by a financial planner and how best his advice makes your financial future more certain?
- How you can choose and trust your financial planner for life
- Why your entire family's financial future can be made better by consulting a good financial planner.
Finally, once you are all set and have decided to appoint your financial planner, you need to finalise the fee. Discuss with your financial planner a fee which has three attributes or brings three-way benefits to you:
- What are the exact benefits that you would derive; What all goals would be covered in his financial plan.
- By paying that certain fee, you would benefit in some real rupees by the end of the exercise or by the end of the one-year advice. It could be money saved, derived out or better-invested money.
- He understands your aspirations and would charge a fee that you can afford.
Take all such understandings in writing and make an agreement also.
Now don't talk or discuss or think! Start immediately! The more you think, the more your chances of starting this relationship diminishes!
Remember, you don't open the yellow pages and search for a heart specialist who charges the least fees! After all, you have one life! Don't negotiate the fee with your financial planner!
With this, you are sure to be assured of being the hands of a great financial planner with your money.
You can look forward to an awesome bright future ahead.
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