Source/Contribution by : NJ Publications
1. An Emotional Guide: In investing, emotions play the devil's role. If left unchecked, they can easily ruin one's entire financial life. Hence, there is so much talk of taking emotions out of financial decision making. A financial advisor does just that by playing the role of an emotional anchor in your financial journey. He will help you stick to your goals and financial plans, irrespective of whether markets are riding waves or are in dire straits. He/she will help in managing your emotions of greed, hope and fear in different market times. These are aspects most important when we consider a life-time of investments.
2. Helps you in Understanding Self: You often don't know what you don't know. A true financial advisor attempts to draw a full picture of you in financial terms. He aspires to see not only the present but also the future. Perhaps, he knows more about you than you know about yourself, if you have been honest with him. It is with the help of a financial advisor that you can dissect your financial life to minute details and plan for every small and big financial goal. He will be able to help you find and fill your weaknesses and build on your strengths as you progress in your life. He will even warn you of dangers and risks which you do not see. While undergoing a proper financial planning, the advisor will also help you spell out your financial goals and priorities them as per your needs and risk profile. The entire process and experience can unravel new things for you.
3. Ensures Continuity in your Plans: It is one thing to make a plan and another to stick to it. Paul Samuelson once said, “Investing should be more like watching paint dry or watching grass grow. If you want excitement, take $800 and go to Las Vegas.” However, it is not easy as short term, immediate concerns often overshadow our long term commitments. A financial adviser is one who can help you maintain continuity in investing. More than anything else, it is the time in market rather than superior products or market timing that dictates returns in the long run. The financial advisor helps you to be patient and reap the full benefits of time and continuity in investments.
4. Source of Experience & Knowledge: A financial advisor often carries with him knowledge and wisdom that he has gained from being in the industry full time, for many years and his constant learning in the business. Financial services is an industry that requires regular studies and being updated of all new developments, be it regulations, market situations or product features. As individual investors, this may be too much & may come at the cost of your time, energy and money. Knowledge and wisdom is difficult to gather and should not be mistaken for information, which is readily available. Whenever you are lost or are facing any doubts or need any help in a financial decision, your financial advisor will be there for you.
5. Motivation to Excel: No one dives into a swimming pool eagerly for the first time, often it is either an instructor or a friend or a parent behind you who pushes you. Like any parent or teacher, a financial advisor has one hidden desire from each of his clients. He wants them to outgrow themselves and become bigger and better investors, in all aspects. Driven by this desire, a financial advisor would push you to do things you may not be fully prepared with. Whether it is controlling spending, forcing you to avoid unverified investments out of greed, making you save for your goals or forcing you to invest more, behind every decision is the desire for your long term well-being. Perhaps, most of the investors would not be even half of their portfolio worth today, had it not been for their financial advisors. He sets newer, higher goals and aspirations for you which you never thought were possible. The constant nagging, motivation, control and aspirational attitude bridges the gap between what you already are and what you can possibly be.
6. Life long Partner: A financial advisor sees you not just a single transaction driven customer, but as a potential, life long partner in your financial journey. The long term relationship is something that he values and expects from every good investor. For him you are never an individual, but a family that can extend into different generations. Hence, it is important for you to have a trust worthy financial advisor. This is a journey where he will be there in all ups and downs in your personal life (and markets) and will help you avoid and face various challenges in life. As the ultimate aim is financial well-being, a financial advisor will seek not only grow but also protect your wealth, always keeping the bigger picture in mind. As a mutually beneficial relationship, the financial advisor sees his well-being only conditional upon your well-being, to its fullest extent.
7. The obvious reasons: Well, the obvious reasons for which you think a financial advisor is required, actually comes last in our list. Reasons like operational support, saving time, consolidation of entire investment portfolio, keeping regular track of investments, regular portfolio review, timely communication of portfolio and transaction information, resolving any queries or issues in investments, keeping abreast with regulatory requirements, etc., are the many additional reasons why a financial advisor is needed. He helps you do all this which in turn helps you save a lot of time, hassles, efforts and worries. With the advent of technology and digital processes, a financial advisor uses them as his tools as a master, keeping control and managing them smartly to bring greater convenience for clients.
A financial advisor is more than the sum of all investment decisions that he can help you make in your life-time. How about starting with a simple question – Can you add the value of all decisions that you have 'not' taken because of your advisor? Can you value the portfolio he suggested against a portfolio you would have created in his absence? How about valuing the time you have remained invested or the additional investments you made, courtesy your advisor? The fact is, it is easier to think about making isolated investment decisions but difficult to imagine and create the bigger picture and keeping it relevant for years and years. A financial advisor not only helps you in deciding, but also helps you in deciding what to decide. Simply being with you, assuring you and helping you as you may 'need' and a promise for a life-time of same, goes a very long way in you being confident in your investment journey today. This new year, it is time to put a word of heartfelt thanks out to your financial advisor too in response to his new year wishes for your well-being.