The relevance of using a financial planner and the role he or she plays is something that is questioned by many people. Approaching a financial planner is unfortunately often seen as a grudge purchase.
In this modern day and age, information is readily available with a simple mouse click. Our world is filled with blogs, news articles, informational and instructional YouTube videos and apps relating to almost any subject matter. The result is that people feel empowered to take care of their own financial planning needs. However, this can create a misguided sense of confidence in their own abilities.
The reality is that much of the information available to us is biased in some way or another, often offering a limited view of a very complex world. Even our own views and decisions are biased in some way, as our minds trick us into making decisions with our hearts and not our heads – where the best financial decisions are most often made.
The discipline of financial planning and investing for retirement is not determined by a single decision or event but by many years of – there’s that word again – discipline. Achieving your retirement goals is not determined by paying a higher or lower fee or getting the highest possible investment return out there at any given time.
The most important factor shaping your success in planning for retirement is you.
That decision to take ownership of your goals and start saving in the first place is where most people fail.
When does this decision need to be made? It can be as early as when you start receiving pocket-money from your parents. It may change with every new life stage – being a student, getting married, starting a family, getting your kids through school etc. Throughout all of this you need to plan for your own retirement, month after month, year after year, diligently sticking to your plan to achieve your goals. This is where a trustworthy financial planner is key to your success.
Your financial planner’s purpose is to be a trusted planner – your financial partner. He or she must be the voice to guide you in the decisions you ultimately need to make, even when times are tough and those decisions are hard. Your financial planner’s role is to educate you in times of tough decisions so that you understand your options and the impact of your decisions. Mentoring and coaching are often an integral part of this process.
Honesty is required and being firm enough to let you know when you are veering off your path to success. This is by nature a very close relationship, based on trust and the highest ethical values.
Any good, independent financial planner considers a vast range of laws and regulations, together with the relevant range of products to give you customised advice, while keeping your personal circumstances in mind.
Financial planners therefore need to understand tax implications and product offerings available in the market. They need to keep abreast of ever-changing financial landscapes and legislation, while always being mindful of politics and the economy.
But ultimately, your financial planner needs to put you, your goals and your needs first, above all else. By using an independent planner you have the peace of mind that the planner is not under pressure to punt products of certain product suppliers.
Ask yourself if you can afford not to have the best financial planner as your financial partner in life.