How a Financial Planner Works
I am a financial planner.
A CFPCM(CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERCM).
I understand people's goals and then look into the future to see what they would need to accomplish their goals.
Then I make plans to show to my clients how they can achieve their short and long-term goals in today's perspective.
A lot of my friends think that I do number crunching and give the best return avenues! They still believe that I would finally sell them something.
Like some mutual fund or an insurance policy or some such investment opportunity! To dispel all such thoughts, I thought of writing this blog on " How a Financial Planner Works". If you are also looking for such clear ideas, this blog is for you.
Out of 46000 registered mutual fund distributors and over twenty lakh insurance agents in India, 99% would earn their living from selling something and getting commissions out it. Although people would get (free) advice from their selling, I don't sell any product but I still advise such products! I sell Advice! Unbiased opinion! Just pure ideas! This information does help people to take financial decisions. It makes a huge difference when I work in a fiduciary capacity for my clients.
A fiduciary is a person who holds a legal or ethical relationship of trust with one or more other parties (person or group of persons). Typically, a fiduciary prudently takes care of money or other assets for another person. (Source: Wikipedia).
More than 77% of retirees in Canada work with a financial planner to achieve their retirement fund and goals for over a decade, says a study in Canada!
If such a developed country has a significant population know how a financial planner works for them, it is the time that we understand that better.
When you go to a car workshop to get your car services, go to a dentist to get your teeth checked or hire an advocate to consult on some legal matters; whom do you hire to get the health of your investments or your wealth reviewed? If you want to know more about how a financial planner works, this blog is for you.
To empower you, give your strategies and to educate you. These are the works of a financial planner.
To help people make smarter decisions, I advise on specific methods and processes. A system driven approach, then, makes it easier for me to track all investment decisions and provide course corrections. Corrections which may be needed to keep market movements or personal money equations, balanced always. Like a captain of the ship, my role is to steer the ship away from dangers and provide that equivalent direction. Direction for my clients to reach their financial destinations.
Let's see how a financial planner works.
- First, you need to find out if you really need a financial planner. The visual here shows you options and gives options. So choose, if you have one more such need.
- Once you are clear what you are looking forward to, the financial planner now tries to understand your specific goals more deeply.
- People who are looking at wealth creation or just looking at returns may not be requiring the services of a financial planner. They can go straight to a wealth manager or an investment advisor.
- Now that financial goals are clear, the planner asks some necessary details to understand your vision of money, wealth and investments were made. At this stage, he would show you the following kind of a visual to explain what all are the areas of personal finances is he going to be working on with you.
- He would then ask you more detailed information about your income, expenses, current investments were made, exact future goals. Goals like your child's education & their marriage, house buying decisions, retirement etc. He would also focus on evaluating your life & health insurance and check if they are adequate.
- Once your goals are made on a timeline, your financial planner has a step by step process for interacting with you like in the following visual:
- Thus, your financial planner
has given you a complete explanation how he is going to be working with you. After having got the necessary information from you, next would be a risk profiling test. Read more about risk profiling here
- Now that your goals are clear, risk profiling test indicates either aggressive or a balanced or a conservative risk appetite. The planner now looks at mapping your current investments into your future goals. Then comes the investments to be done. He may lay emphasis on saving systematically and always align all your investments with changing market conditions. This alignment called as rebalancing your equity-debt portfolio. This would ensure smoothening of the trajectory and protect you from the ups and downs of the market.
- The planner would continuously review all your necessary insurances like life, health, home, office, travel, disability, critical illness etc.. This review would ensure that you and your family are adequately covered by relevant insurance policies. Thus, leaving no room to cause an effect on your money flows and safeguard your income to expenses flow too.
- Why is this kind of goal achievement process a grey area for most of the people? Perhaps they didn't have goals. Well, here the planner's role becomes significant as he continuously mentors their clients on the specific methods for each of the goals and educates on the right focus areas. Meanwhile, he continues to give the know-how for each goal achieved. He provides the proper action steps for each goal also. This becomes a cycle and every 3-6 month's review meetings take care of all doubts or fears too.
- Financial planners are not only for wealthy but for everyone who wants to ensure that their money is working for the better. The planner makes you SMARTER with your goals and to help you secure your financial future. Thus he enables you to enjoy your current lifestyle and systematically achieve all your future dreams. He also works to get your existing cash flow work harder.
The future depends on what we do in our present, said Mahatma Gandhi.
You are responsible for your future.
So, learn and make your money work harder for you.
You may be befuddled about how to distinguish Financial Planning from other kinds of financial advice.
To help you see what to expect from the Financial Planning process, CFPCM practitioners follow specific standards - called Financial Planning Practice Standards - when providing Financial Planning advice. Practice Standards describe the process, you should reasonably expect a Financial Planner to apply during a Financial Planning engagement.
These standards are grounded in a six-step Financial Planning process as prescribed by the Financial Planning Standards setting authorities around the world.
He would be able to answer such questions for you like:
- How much can I save?
- What are the best investment avenues for me based on my goals?
- How can I guard my investments against the ups and downs of the market?
- Should I pay off loans or invest?
- How much should I save for my retirement?
- How much life insurance do I need and how do I best get it?
- What is the ideal health insurance for my family?
- How will inflation hit my investments?
How can I achieve financial freedom to pursue my passions in life?
A financial planner can help you get answers to all such questions. Furthermore, he can do "what if" scenarios with your plans. Like what if I don't want to retire at 60 but at 50? What if my life expectancy is not 75 but 85.
A financial planner can be your best friend to answer some of the following broad thoughts. Issues that you are not able to ask even your best friend.
You then need a friend with whom you can trust and someone who can keep your cherished dreams and personal thoughts, entirely confidential.
Some of these opinions could be: (These have come from my clients who have actually asked me such dilemmas!):
- I am looking for divorce from husband shortly, need to I am worried about my job and may be asked to quit in the next 3 months
- I want to have a confidential will made
- I don't know the value of the house I should buy?
- Should I save for my retirement first or my child's education?
- I want to invest a lump sum amount in an aggressive mutual fund but is it the right time to enter the market?
A good financial planner facilitates such solutions within the given resources and risk appetite of the client.
They provide the right direction.
An objective advice that also has options available too. He doesn't provide just any brochure for an investment opportunity!
I have many friends who are my clients for life! I have many clients who are also friends for life! I enjoy working with them on their goals and make their money work harder for them.
As Robert Kiyosaki says: "make your money work hard for you, not work hard".
So, now you know how a financial planner works!
Trust him with your life's dreams and enjoy the journey meanwhile.
Wish you a Happy Planning for Life.
CFPCM Certification is the highest level of Certification worldwide in the field of Personal Financial Planning. It is the most prestigious and internationally accepted Financial Planning qualification for giving comprehensive financial advisory services to individuals. CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERCM and CFPCM are certification marks owned outside the U.S. by Financial Planning Standards Board Ltd. (FPSB). Financial Planning Standards Board India is the marks licensing authority for the CFPCM marks in India, through an agreement with FPSB.