“If they’d talked to me ten years ago, they might’ve been two million dollars better off today.”
I was chatting with one of my colleagues, Salena Kulkarni, about why clients don’t get financial advice, and what they’re missing out on.
Why do so many people pass up the chance to be better off? The most common reason I hear is, “Financial planning is just for rich people. I don’t have enough money yet”.
Have you assumed you need a massive nest egg before you get professional financial advice? Well, that belief could be costing your financial security. I hate seeing people falling behind, when they could’ve set themselves up for the future so easily.
Are you one of those people who might’ve ruled out financial planning because you didn’t think you’d fit the bill? Read this post to find what you could be missing out on — and what you stand to gain.
Myth 1: I don’t have enough money
Let’s tackle this one head on. Do you really need a million dollars in ready cash before financial planning is worth its while?
To be honest, while I do have some clients who are already well off, those aren’t the people I most want to help. The millionaires are probably going to be fine regardless. What’s far more rewarding is helping ordinary people reach that point of being well off.
So what’s a good amount to have on hand before you see a financial planner? It all comes down to disposable income. For a family with a combined household income of $60,000, all their money is absorbed by basic living costs: food and accommodation. There’s no discretionary income, and they’re not saving.
But most people I talk to are doing better than that — even if just by a small margin. Even if you’re on $100,000 or $120,000, there are often opportunities to start putting a little away. It doesn’t have to be much. What we do is invest it wisely, with the goal of seeing it snowball over time.
Myth 2: Financial planning is just about making money
Financial planning isn’t just about getting more money. It’s about protecting what you already have. If the main breadwinner in your family couldn’t work — for whatever reason — would your family be secure?
I remember one client — an Indian man who’d emigrated to Australia and built an extremely profitable business. He came to me for life insurance. Three months after he took out the policy, he died of a massive heart attack. Now this was a tragedy for his family. But it would have been even more of a tragedy if they’d been left with nothing. Instead, because of that insurance policy, the house was paid for, and his family had enough to see them through.
Talking to a financial planner means finding an answer to the question: How much protection do we need to be okay if the worst happens?
Myth 3: Financial planning is too expensive
The way I work, there’s no charge for picking up the phone and having a chat, or shooting through an email with some questions. The first consultation is always free, so there’s no risk in having a chat about your situation.
From that point forward, all the costs will be laid out for you before you decide to go ahead. And in some cases, those costs will still be zero. If you need a life insurance policy, my advice is always free. (Full disclosure: Like most financial planners, I get paid for this service via a commission from the insurer.)
What’s the cost to your family in not getting financial advice?
Is financial planning left in your ‘someday’ tray? You think it might be worth doing, but right now you just want to get through the next few years. You’ll go see someone when you’ve got a decent amount together.
Other financial planners love those clients, because they have lots of money to invest. I’m not like other financial planners. I want to see people get on track: making those small, incremental steps to get where they want to be faster.
And what opportunities are you passing up by not seeing a financial planner now – even if it’s the opportunity to see your family and assets protected by insurance?
It’s only one conversation. It can’t hurt to find out what your options are.
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