People regularly ask me things like ‘where’s the best place to put my money’, ‘what’s the safest option available’ or, my personal favourite ‘what would you do, if you were me?’.
My initial response to these questions is typically; ‘Depends’ or ‘Why does it matter?’. How can I answer such a question before understanding your personal and financial story? First, I need to know who you are, where you’re coming from and where you want to go.
As a financial planner, people often expect me to offer an instant answer to these questions. An answer that will, in one sentence, lead them towards the light. Perhaps this results from the plethora of financial opinion spewed up by financial ‘forecasters’, ‘gurus’, ‘thought leaders’, or ‘insert nauseating title here’. Unsolicited financial ‘insight’ is offered on a plate by many facets of the media and so, when someone meets a financial adviser, there is a tendency to believe he or she can offer up some magic beans to plant the tree of financial salvation. Trust me, if it were that easy, you wouldn’t make it onto my private island to ask me these questions in the first place!
First and foremost, my purpose is to help people find meaning with their money. When it comes to financial planning and investing, there really needs to be an end to justify the means. Investing without a set of goals to work towards, devoid of principles upon which your investment planning is based, is like sailing in a storm without a compass. Soon enough, you’ll want to abandon ship.
The best way to avoid this scenario is to hire a guide who can help navigate the uncertainties you will inevitably face along your financial journey; someone who takes the time to understand where you really want to go, before calculating the best route to get there based on years of experience in helping others do the same.
Before beginning to explore what’s best for your hard-earned wealth, take a step back from all the noise and ask yourself ‘What is it all for?’. Are you looking to exude blood, sweat and tears in a blind quest to somehow ‘beat the market’, with an investment strategy based on the latest “Top 10 fund picks” article (shudder), without even asking why you feel it necessary to put yourself through such agony to begin with?
Instead, you may find it an altogether more pleasant experience to sit down with a trusted professional, who can help discover your most deeply desired outcomes, before designing and guiding you through a structured plan built with the destination in mind. Once you have an idea of what it’s all for, you can get on with using money to get more out of life, instead of wasting precious hours agonising over financial decisions, without any real sense of why you’re making them in the first place.
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