Karen Tang, CFP®: Certified Financial Planner in Singapore

9 Reasons Why We Need A Financial Advisor

A question that some prospects ask me is:

“Do I really need a financial advisor? I think I am quite good with numbers and have jotted down my expenses, assets and liabilities in a spreadsheet. I also read the newspapers and see ChannelNewsAsia everyday so that I can stay aware of financial product news.”

First of all, prospects like the one above are quite rare ­ even smart executives just don’t have the time, interest or aptitude to manage their finances fully enough.

Here are 9 reasons why it is wise to seek help of an experienced, holistic
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (not a tied insurance agent who represents only one provider).

  1. They do the math for you.
    They calculate the numbers that you don’t want to do or even know how to do. Accuracy in critical numbers make a world of difference in financial planning ­ for example, when calculating affordability in buying a property, determining the exact retirement funding you need at your desired retirement age, deciding on the adequate insurance coverage that you need and calculating interest rates and how they will impact your rate of return. Knowing how to use a financial planning calculator is one thing. But being able to help you make sense of the information is another notch up financial planning is so much more than just budgeting and buying a few unit trusts.
  2. They help you get organised.
    It is not very often that I meet a well organised client who has filed all of his or her insurance policies, investment statements and other financial information in a neat and searchable order. So, the very first step in financial planning is to gather all relevant financial data, ranging from monthly expenses, current investment valuation to outstanding mortgage loan. It may sound tedious but this exercise is important so that the financial advisor can ascertain your current financial health.
  3. They ask the right questions.
    The ‘Know Your Client’ step in the financial planning process is a highly interactive stage where the financial advisor will spend time to understand your priorities, goals, values and concerns. A good financial advisor adopts a holistic approach, is trained to spot areas of risk exposure and provide viable options to strengthen your overall financial portfolio.
  4. They play the role of a coach and teacher.
    They help you get from Point A to Point B. A financial adviser is your cheerleader in your financial planning journey. They make sure your goals are realistic and achievable. When you meet with new milestones in your life like getting married, expecting a newborn, buying your first home or a change of job, they help you adjust your plan and ensure you are still on track.
  5. They have gone through hundreds of hours of essential and
    continuing training to stay abreast of the critical fine details in
    the landscape of financial solutions.

    You don’t know what you don’t know! You could spend hours reading up on personal finance or fast track by getting your very own tutor (financial advisor). They can simplify complex financial concepts and provide you with tools and facts to make informed decisions. When was the last time you read a policy document and gave up at page 5 because the jargon and clauses are hard to understand? Financial advisors, on the other hand, read the fine
    print of products day in and day out and can explain to you in layman language.
  6. The right ones give you access and insights to solutions from
    several providers.

    Research and comparison is the hallmark of a holistic CERTIFIED
    FINANCIAL PLANNER™ who has access to solutions from across the market. The outcome of this is being able to identify competitive and cost effective options that have the most beneficial definitions as well as terms and conditions for the client.
  7. They prevent your emotions from disrupting prudent

    Money issues aren’t just black and white ­ they can get you very emotional. Where do you see yourself ten years from now? What does your retirement look like? Do you want to send your kids overseas for their university education? What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind when you pass on? These are just a few of the questions that your financial advisor will help you reflect upon. So, doesn’t it make sense to engage a wealth management
    expert who is not attached to your money to give you clarity and a robust action plan?
  8. They liaise with other relevant professionals on your behalf.
    They communicate with lawyers, insurance providers, banks, estate planners and real estate agents to ensure your best financial interests are always safe guarded.
  9. The good ones are worth every penny.
    Very often, you don’t even pay anything extra over what a product provider has priced for their solutions. Some of the more senior financial planners charge an hourly fee which is justified by the quality of their recommendations which in turn can help you save or earn up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in the future. The financial decision you make early on can have a huge impact on your life, so engaging the advice of an expert can go a long way to help you reach your goals.At the end of the day, it is your money and you can choose to do whatever you want with it. But a good financial advisor can guide you in
    the right direction through behavioural consulting, impartial advice, helpful lessons and valuable tools.As I keep reminding everyone I care about ­ the most important person in your life, outside family, after your doctor, is none other than your financial planner.