Personal financial planning: to do or not to doFinance, Insurance | December 6, 2010 at 5:25 am
Now don’t get me wrong. I know fully well that personal financial planning is something that we all must do. My only question is whether I should do it myself or leave it to some expert on behalf of me. The thing is that I don’t trust most of these financial planners. Most of them seem to have their own vested interests and it becomes very hard to trust someone when they become more of a broker than an adviser. Over time, many financial advisers have tried to talk to me about signing up with them, but I think this requires trust more than anything else and none of them seem particularly trustworthy. So all I end up saying is “thanks, but no thanks” as I stonewall all of them into submission.
You see, it’s just not complicated in the slightest to do my own personal financial planning. My financial objectives were not, and never have been, complex. All of the goals were pretty simple and I did all of them pretty damn well if I do say so myself. For example, I wanted to pay off the car loan, pay for a new house with as much cash as possible and then pay off the remainder quickly. And if I ended up having a family, I wanted to make sure that the baby would also be taken care of. See, that’s fairly simple, isn’t it?
I’ll tell you what isn’t simple though. The fees and payment structures that these financial planners charge. I don’t quite get how these planners are paid or commissioned sometimes. I wasn’t looking for someone to actively manage my finances, this much I know. But if I would sign on with someone, it’s because I wanted advice more than anything else, I simply wanted to grow my own net worth and if I would be able to tie someone’s salary/fee to that, I’d have signed on in a flash. Unfortunately I never did find anyone that fit the bill. It’s not just about finding someone who was willing to get paid on my terms; I needed/need a mentor or a coach. Someone who’s been there and done that. Maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s more reassuring that way.
But I’ve seen family friends and ex-girlfriends (yes, ex girlfriends) be well on their way to becoming multi-millionaires by picking the right financial adviser. Seeing things like that happen rattles the cage a bit and makes the aversion that bit less. But I never did take that leap, and my goals are more aggressive. I want to retire by 45 or 50, the earlier the better. I don’t want a total retirement, perhaps just the option of living life on my terms by taking vacations or jobs whenever I want to. Consider it a life experiment if you will. And somewhere along the line, I want to not just grow my wealth but also save for the future. How will I do that? Once I’ve saved enough and I feel secure, in maybe a few years from now, I want to go with a fee-only adviser who will get that fee by growing my net worth. The more you make, the more they make. It’s a win-win situation and one that has worked for others. I don’t see why it won’t work for me.