Do you need a Financial Planner?

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The truth is you do not need a financial planner if you are capable of doing it all by yourself. But be warned!

By Kevin Neoh

Planning for our finances can be a tedious effort because it involves not only our financial status, but also our dreams and desires in life, namely starting up a new business venture, getting married or even travelling around world post retirement.

However, without proper preparations and planning, we will never achieve our desired financial dreams.

I guess it goes without saying that many people are aware of the importance of financial planning; a reason why people constantly google for dos and don’ts and know-hows on this matter.

The truth is you do not need a financial planner if you are capable of doing it all by yourself.

But the question is how many people are acting as his/her own financial planner? Let us explore some of the pitfalls of trying to be your own financial planner:

  1. We only have so many Hours in a Day

Most of us will have to devote at least 8 hours a day for our full-time job. Then comes juggling time to wine and dine, travelling from one place to another,  sleeping to rejuvenate, socialising, relaxing and so on, which can typically take another 12 to 15 hours.

So, where do you find the time to keep track of the world of personal finance that is dynamic and ever-changing?

  1. We make Decision By Emotion, rarely logic

Research related to behavioural finance has proven that throughout the history of mankind, we have demonstrated the inability to make the right decision for ourselves. Most of the time, we are dominated by fear and emotion when we make a call on something.

For example, when we buy an item that “everyone else buys”, and something goes wrong on that purchase, we often comfort ourselves by thinking that we’re not the only ones who were wrong; hundreds others are wrong as well, even if we had to pay a big price for it.

This is why throughout the history of financial crisis, we would see asset bubbles before the onset of the crisis. People mostly end up buying a particular investment when it is high, then sell when it’s low; when ideally we all know that we should be buying low and selling high.

So the next time you are about to act irrationally, try to delay that decision for some time to let your conscience regain some influence over the effect of fear.

  1. We tend to be more Short-Sighted

Many behavioural studies have indicated that people prefer instant gratification than having to wait for a better outcome.

This could seriously affect our ability to make good, quality decisions when it comes to our financial future. Since we may be only focusing on the next few months or one year ahead, we may make decisions that impair our ability to be flexible, or to cater to our long-term needs.

Many tend to count their eggs before hatching; this short-sightedness is what gets people into debt issue or cash flow trouble, eventually.

  1. Financial Predators lurking nearby

There are dangerously many people who are salivating at your wealth, big or small. We are never short of news or complaint about how people have been victimised, misled to purchase or invest in certain thing.

We are living in an era of free-information, with variety of websites, blogs or some price comparison sites that can help us to make a better decision.

So, plan strategically before selecting a product to invest. This will require objective, impartial advice that can be tailor-made to suit to your unique circumstances and need.

  1. The financial services world is Too Much to be shouldered alone, unadvised

Let’s say you want to buy a life insurance policy today. What are the factors would you consider? Will you consider just the monthly premium, or will you stop at analysing the name of the company/brand?

Would you wonder if the product you’re considering is most suited for you, or would you consider another product? Wouldn’t you get more ‘input’ and ‘opinion’ from people you trust?

Mind-boggling isn’t it? Why is why we need someone who is qualified to provide an objective view, an independent financial expert who can guide us through the thousands of financial products, without losing our way, and prevent any unnecessary financial losses.

So, how do you know which type of an investment is suitable for one’s need and objective?

If you were to invest your time on studying the pros-and-cons of all that is available, chances are by the time you have finished the listing, the items at the top of the lists may have undergone some changes.

Finding a Licensed Financial Planner

In Malaysia, financial planning and advice is a regulated industry. Consumers are protected as provisioned by the law when they legally engage a licensed financial planner holding professional qualifications.

Consumers can validate that claim by visiting: http://ers.seccom.com.my/public/Default.aspx?menu=1

Enter his/her name as per NRIC, or IC number, and the answer will be revealed.

About the author: Kevin K.M. Neoh, RFP, MBA, CFP  CERT TM is a Licensed Financial Planner with the Securities Commissions Malaysia (SSM) and Bank Negara Malaysia.

As a CFP Professional who holds a strong belief that families of all income levels should have access to professional financial planning assistance and that the financial world is too complex to shoulder alone, Kevin actively seeks to assist people on the street to live a financially confident life.

Attached to VKA Wealth Planners Sdn. Bhd, Kevin was also awarded the Malaysian Financial Planner of The Year Award (MFPYA) last year. Contact him at kevinneoh@vka.com.my

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