Everything is so complicated and specialised these days, whether it be marketing, PR, technology, or education, each of these areas with its own specialty. Money management is no different. But so many people struggle through, thinking they should be able to do this all themselves.
I was doing some research recently and found out that there are at least 10,000 different investment options in Australia, from Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) to Annuities. There are hundreds of Superfunds and other alternatives — all these different ideas around strategies on how to become a successful money-making machine.
I found that it is extremely hard for anyone to go about financial planning alone unless they’ve got a financial background and a huge chunk of enthusiasm that they want to dedicate to this. They should also be prepared to maybe lose a bit of cash through trial and error, and spend a fair bit of their time and resources in going through the process, that when and if this is not an option becomes a roadblock to success.
I have come up with this list of what I think are the primary deterrents to getting good help and my top tips on how to prevent them:
Not wanting to pay for good advice
For a lot of young people, in particular, the best advice and strategies are not necessarily linked to a specific product. But if you go out looking for advice based on the cost, this can force you to use a crappy financial model, essentially, where there’s conflicted payments or hidden agendas, and you’re getting pushed down the drain in the long run.
I mentioned in another post that we can produce a financial plan for next to nothing, but producing one that is going to be right for you, that you’re empowered by and confident in, where you’re in the driver’s seat co-creating, and where at the end you can have a clear path from where you are to where you want to be, and confidence that you’ll get there — that’s a significantly more involved process. If that’s what you want like any good service, you can’t pay silver and get gold, so you better be prepared to pay for it.
Conflicted fee models
People who haven’t sought advice before don’t really ask all the questions that they should about how they’re getting paid and the implications that go with it, including sales commissions and other fees. If this had been explained beforehand, then you could see how this might influence the advice that you’re getting. Therefore, don’t ever hesitate to ask these questions upfront. In this way, you’re guided with your decisions and you’d know what to expect in the end.
Feeling uncomfortable when the direction is unclear
It’s understandable that anyone would want to comprehend what the strategies are or how they would fit their lifestyle. However, I think one of the necessary parts of a good financial planning process is not knowing where it’s going to end up until you really get into it. The path that you will ultimately choose to partake can only happen once you understand the pathways — the financial benefits, the risks, and that you’re comfortable with them.
Sometimes, you just need to trust the process and then jump in knowing that at the end of the day, you’re going to arrive at a plan that’s actually going to work for you, one that is truly tailor-fit for you.
Not prioritising your financial success
Another drawback that I see is the “urgent” overpowering the “important”. We can all agree that money is an important necessity. But to most of us, it is never really urgent. It’s easy to let our day-to-day activities get in the way, and that’s when financial planning gets pushed on the back burner until you realise that time has run out. You’ve just missed the opportunity to get better results.
This is why we have to prioritise our financial success. Put an appointment in your calendar if you have to, where you’ve got some clear time to focus on your money. No one else is going to do it for you, so you need to make time and make the commitment.
Everyone wants to be smart with money. But that’s only half the battle. It’s easy to let barriers like the ones above get in the way of your money success. Don’t fall into this trap. Educating yourself is the key to pushing through these barriers and getting results, so give yourself some snaps on taking the first step here. My advice is to keep building your momentum to create your version of money success.