Yes, very true, this is exactly what everyone thinks in India, whenever we hear the term “Financial Planning”.
Since the day I have started my venture in similar field and my interactions with my near & dear ones to promote same, reactions have been quite similar, i.e. they perceive my pitch as another advisor in town, who wants to sell investments (i.e. Insurance or Mutual Fund). And all most all of them have replied back (though without hurting my feelings), that they will call back once they have funds in hand… 😉
As a matter of fact, my own experience of last 15 years in capital market & my recent venture, where we have registered more than 1500 customers for Financial Planning, most of them or rather 99% of them, relate the term “Financial Planning” to “selling new investments”.
Well this is more to do with our eco-system, where our role models themselves have a different approach towards this term. Starting with our up-bringing, i.e. our Parent’s, most of us will agree that we have never heard anything beyond Fixed Deposits (FD) or LIC money back plans, when we were kids or growing-up.
The next segment is our Banks, who fit on this model perfectly, but none of the banks follow this model. They may propagate this model, only to push specific products (though in the disguise of Financial Planning), which the RM pushes due to product pressure or high incentives, which is well known to everyone.
Lastly, we have the individual product agents, i.e. Insurance, Mutual Funds or Stock Brokers, who will promote their products under the Financial Planning banner. But placement will happen with products which serves only the seller interests. End result, complaints going in lacs, which one can gauge from regulators website, news-articles & various campaigns run by the regulators towards investor knowledge or gyan, to weed out such malpractices in the market.
Now, let me explain this term in the best possible way, such that next time you have a clear perspective, when you hear the term “Financial Planning”.
Financial Planning is a comprehensive evaluation of individual’s current and future financial state by knowing current investments, cash flow, security cover, risk assessment & life goals. The term “Comprehensive Evaluation” is not selling of investments, but in simple language means, first where an individual stands in terms of his/her financials and secondly, where& how an individual wants to go towards individual’s dreams or life goals.
It’s more like a counselling session, where when the session ends, even though one knew everything beforehand, but never looked at the entire information in one go or took a 360 degree approach& made sense on the course drawn,keeping one’s dreams or life goals in mind.
Moreover, Financial Planning is no rocket science, it does not require analysts or CFP/MBA’s, as claimed or propagated by the industry. One can complete this exercise on a white sheet of paper or on excel-sheet, as long as one has a bit of time & basic knowledge on financial products (plus periodic reviews, at least once a year).
For the rest, they have online national firms, like www.moneyfrog.in where one can monitor & track one’s investments as per Financial Planning & Life Goals online, as well as speak & have periodic reviews with qualified advisors.