2017 / 24 August

Time to Relook at Your Financial Planning??

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A couple discussing about their financial planning

Raman is a hard working management consultant. He has been in business for fifteen years now. Having climbed the corporate ladder fast, his income has been handsome. He not only enjoys a nice standard of living but also saves enough every month to achieve his target of retiring early. When he looks around in his office, it is clear that fifty is the new retirement age for such demanding jobs. His friends in banking also tell him the same thing. But the only thing lacking is; no financial planning.


He called his trusted investment advisor recently and asked to him,’ Ravi, can you come home over for a couple of hours this Saturday morning?’


‘All ok, Raman? You never have time to speak to me, leave alone meeting me for a couple of hours and that too on a weekend.’


‘Thankfully, all well, Ravi. While travelling on my long flight to the client’s office this Monday, the plane had a bad bout of turbulence. I just wondered if something were to happen to me now, is my family secure? Are my finances in order? And most importantly, will Tanuja be able to take care of our investments and assets? Have I really saved my money well and employed it in appropriate investments? These and many more questions crossed my mind and I decided to devote some time and attention to these issues.’


‘Better late than never. See you this Saturday morning. Make sure Tanuja is also around,’ Ravi clicked the phone. He was happy that one of his favourite clients was finally taking more interest in these pertinent issues.


The meeting kicked off at designated time, Ravi being a stickler for time. He asked,’ So, Raman and Tanuja, how can I help you?’


‘Well, for a start, please explain this complex investment portfolio statement to us. I get this report every month. Sometimes, I open it on my iPhone but never really understood what all this means. I just look at total value and returns in the summary page.’


‘I see. You only open the most important document on iPhone, not even on a laptop to get a proper view of things,’Ravi chuckled,’ Jokes apart, I am pleased that both of you have taken time out for this discussion. I have been working with you for last couple of years only but we haven’t had even a single meeting to discuss things peacefully. You are always in a rush when I call you, blurt out instructions when you need the money at short notice and let me drive the investment decisions.’


He continued,’ Though it reflects well on me as an advisor, it is a double edged sword. I want you to know and understand where your portfolio stands. Why we are investing the money the way we are and what can we expect in scenarios of market booming as well as crashing.’


Raman interjected,’ You are right. My portfolio was in a mess two years back when I decided to start working with you. I had too many investment advisors and invested in too many different Mutual Funds schemes. My equity investments were spread over a large number of shares I hadn’t even heard of. I didn’t know whether to hold them or sell them. Even if I wanted to hold, I was not clear for how long should I hold them.’


Tanuja jumped in,’ Raman, you did not even remember many old insurance cum investment policies and few FD’s.’


‘Tanuja, it would have helped if you took some interest in managing all this. I am glad that, of late you have been involved at least in keeping track of our investments.’


Ravi added,’ Both of you have come a long way in last two years. You have rationalized the number of investment account down to two. You have only two investment advisors, one other than me. You have also stopped taking the advise of banks’ relationship managers on face value. You have invested time and effort to understand the nature, risk and rewards of various investments.’


‘When I took over your portfolio, I was aghast that the bank where you had your salary account, had advised to you to invest in structured products, equity linked notes, pathetic insurance policies which heavy fees. It took us a while to get rid of those, though some are still continuing as the breakage costs are very high.’


‘Enough about past, let’s talk about where we stand today,’ Raman demanded.


Ravi took them through their investment portfolio, item by item, explaining the amount they had invested, the returns or profits made, the rationale for choosing each investment instrument.


Ravi made the concluding remarks,’ Your financial wealth seems to be on right track now. If you had not made those mistakes of misinformed investments earlier, you would have been much closer to you financial goals. I really liked the way you have read through the key features of the investment ideas in recent days. Now, the key is to have this kind of meetings once every six months at least.’


Tanuja mentioned,’ I am feeling nice after this review. At least I know where we stand. I feel empowered, Ravi. We feel blessed to be out of the clutches of predatory advisors and insurance agents. You do charge us a fee but it seems just worth it.’


‘Few days back, my uncle came around to show me his investment portfolio. He is leading a retired life. Needless to say that he is torn between keeping his wealth safe and generating enough returns to run the household. I did a detailed review for him and learnt that his bank had pressurized him to open a shares trading account,’ Ravi shared with them.


‘What? That’s suicidal. Share trading by a retired person? The mis-selling has reached a new low,’ Raman exclaimed.


‘You are right. My advice to all my clients is to invest some time in reading about the financial investment instruments. Surprising, people like to read junk news papers for hours, watch useless debates on TV and spend days following their favorite sport but they have no time to educate themselves on financial planning. With returns on all assets falling, interest rates dropping, job insecurity increasing, and vanishing of guaranteed pensions and healthcare, it is high time that people too their financial matters in their own hands. Gone are the days when they can just keep pumping money blindly into Fixed Deposits and assume that their retirement is taken care of,’ Ravi concluded.


My book Happiness is All We Want! is available on Amazon.in and Amazon.com.


Ashutosh Mishra - YouthCoach & Author

A seeker and explorer in the quest for lasting happiness, health and well-being. An MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur and a Mechanical Engineer from IIT Delhi. Has been a senior banker with large global banks like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and ANZ Bank. Working in these demanding global institutions with a gruelling schedule and plenty of business travel. Was fortunate to realise the importance of health and wellbeing early on. Learnt and practiced many wellbeing tools and techniques to focus on his own well-being while balancing the demands of a high-profile career and a lovely family.

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