When NOT to use a Financial Planner


When NOT to use a Financial Planner

Almost every day I read on internet and even I receive emails with exactly the same question:  

  • Should I use a financial planner?  
  • Will that service help me?  
  • Why would I pay thousands of $$$$ for this service? 

So, to make it easy for everyone, I want to answer this question once and for all and today I will be brutally honest with you. 

You might think that I am biased being a financial planner myself, but I will try to look at this issue rationally and objectively. Whether you use or don’t use any professional service, goes back to your decision-making process and generally there are 4 kinds of personality types when it comes to these decision-making abilities. 

1. You are a Do It Yourself kind of the person, but not just in talk, you actually do the job required, you learn, you study, you get your books, courses, you spend time to research, do comparisons of scenarios, calculations, learn tax structure in your country, learn legal system in your country, buy software to compare type of investments available, fees structure, benefits and drawbacks of different contracts – if you really, honestly do that – you don’t need a financial planner, you can do your planning just fine and you most likely be very successful in it.

Or maybe you should become a financial planner yourself (lol). 

As an example, my husband and I have almost renovated our home. I say almost, as there is still one part of the house to be finished – our kitchen. But my husband, who in his previous live was a high voltage electrician, spend days and nights researching, studying, speaking with professional engineers.  We spoke with designers, we still needed services of electrician, plumber, roof-fixing company, and many others. It took us 10 years, 10 years of working full time, rising family, and fixing the house. Believe me, that was very difficult.  

So, I guess, what I am trying to say is, if you are really, fully, 100% committed to the job, you can do it, but as per my example, you cannot do it all just by yourself, you will still need assistance of professionals to support you to get the best result, just like we did with our house.  

2. You are a person that wants results, wants to improve situation with what you’ve got, or you want suggestions how to utilise your money smarter now as well as for the future, how to save smarter, how to create a better cashflow, how to improve your government benefits, how to improve your super or any other investment you want, how to create financial security for your family, but you yourself have no time, inclination or interest to do it.  

If this is you, then you most definitely should use a service of a financial planner, just like most likely you have an accountant or lawyer or a plumber or hairdresser. This is service like any other, just happens in the area of finance that has impact on your whole life and the earlier you do it, the better off your financial life will be, which in turn has impact on your emotional state, on your family relationship, on your ability to enjoy time with family, such as holidays, time off work.  

This is called choice that gives you financial freedom or financial security.  

A good example from my own life would be bookkeeping or accounting. You could say that as a financial planner, I would know how to calculate my own tax, for myself and my business. 

But why would I do it? I have no interest in it, I need a specialist to do it properly, fast and with no mistakes, so I outsource to the best accountant I know, and the best bookkeeper I could find.  

Of course, I have to pay for their work, but I know I get great service, ongoing support, and importantly I can spend my time in the area that is my passion and has been for over 20 years, which is financial and retirement planning.  

And another benefit is that it gives me the time for my family, hiking, photography – things that I love doing and I wound’t be able to do if I didn’t have that support around me.  

3. You are a person that thinks you can do it yourself, you buy every course, you spend lots of money on this education, you have great intentions, you become a course junkie, you start your study, but course after course you never finish any of them. 

Then finally after spending a little fortune on all those half-done courses, you admit to yourself, that either the topic of finance does not interest you or you just don’t have the time to do it. And yes, employ a financial planner as your coach.  

Remember, the company you bought all those courses from got paid, they have your money regardless what you do with the information, regardless if you get any results or not, so the only party that will miss out in this equation is you.  

I can give you an example here as well, before coming to Australia I lived in Italy for 2 years, and my Italian was pretty good at that point, but after many years living here in Australia and not speaking Italian, I somehow lost ability to speak as fluently as I once was able to do.  

But I love Italian, so I decided to pick it up again about 10 years ago. I bought books, tapes and started to study. At the beginning it was fun, and I was excited, but then I also set up my financial planning practice About Retirement, I started to be very busy with work, clients, new venture and time went by and all those Italian books and tapes were just sitting on my shelf collecting dust. I was unable to set the time for my Italian study, business has just overtaken everything.  

So I made a decision to start private lessons with a lovely Italian lady. I set the time aside, it was all pre-organised in my diary and I never missed the lesson. Having a couch helped me get organised, well prepared, we had our weekly lessons, so there was consistency and slowly as months went by, I started seeing results, progress and my confidence in Italian returned again.  

4. You are a person that listens to everyone around, you talk with your neighbours, all your friends, everyone is happy to give you their advice and after all of this, you feel confused, overwhelmed, you lose focus, and the only possible outcome of it is your lack of action, inability to make any decision hence there is no progress, and you just stagnate and procrastinate. 

So, please just stop! Stop talking to everyone around you. Of course, your friends mean well, they want to help you, most people really want to help, but please remember that their advice is based on their life, not yours, on their circumstances not yours, on their experiences not yours.  

We are all different, we want different things in life, our personalities are different, and planning for your financial success is your own journey and your own set of steps. What works for one person may not work for another. As an example: what one person considers as a good investment is not necessarily good for you for various reasons. What your neighbour might consider a safe investment might be high risk for you. So, if you are that type of personality, speak with the professional adviser. Otherwise, you will be stuck all your life.  

So here we go, those are 4 options that exist. And I say, if you want your results, just honestly admit to yourself which type of a person you are and make your decision. There is no right or wrong here.  

If you are truly “Do it yourself” type, I applaud you – it is not easy, but can very rewarding, with consistency and clarity with support of professionals in areas where you are not perfect, you can achieve all your goals.  

But if you are not a 100% dedicated “do it yourself” type, stop procrastination and make a decision to help yourself.  

This is honestly what makes a difference being financially set and secure so you can actually have your life full of enjoyment and great experiences. Isn’t that what we all want? 

“Retirement is a journey NOT a destination, so be well prepared for the ride” 

By: Katherine Isbrandt CFP®
Money Strategist & Retirement Planner
Principal of About Retirement

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