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One-Stop Guide For Doctors To Choose A Financial Planner

One will need to understand all financial requirements and goals to create a plan

Photo Credit : Shutterstock

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Whenever we have asked doctors who advises them on financial matters, we get almost the same answers-

* My relative/father/brother/sister manages my finances

* I approach my Chartered Accountant (CA) for all my finance related needs

* I have a friend who is an Investment Adviser

* I am a Privileged Customer in my Bank and have Relationship Managers

* I get investment and stock tips from my colleagues or my patients

As you can see above, anyone with some knowledge of finance is assumed to be a Financial Planner. The truth is that doctors are so busy in their professions that they barely get time to look into their finances and when they do, they consult whoever is the easiest to approach and take their financial advice.

Consulting a Financial Planner is akin to seeking medical help from a Doctor. If you were seeking medical help, would you go to a Doctor or to a Chemist? Obviously, a Doctor, for his expertise and domain knowledge, right? Similarly, Financial Planning is a field which requires a specialized qualification and expertise. A CA, may be a tax wizard, but he is NOT a Financial Planner. Similarly, Financial Distributors and Bankers are also NOT Financial Planners.

So, how should you choose your Financial Planner – one who will understand all financial needs and goals to create a plan to ensure that you achieve those goals.

Ask these 7 questions while choosing YOUR PLANNER

 Is he a qualified advisor? 

Seek help only from a Chartered Financial Analyst or a Certified Financial Planner

What is his motivation to work? 

Most of the Private Banks and MF/Insurance Distributors give you free advice but are primarily sales people always on the lookout to sell more products to earn higher commissions. Choose a Planner who takes a more holistic approach for your finances.

What is he promising to deliver? 

Is your Planner promising you ‘highest’ returns? A good Financial Planner should instead tell you not to believe in theories of 50% returns and help you focus on achieving your financial goals.

Will he create a written financial strategy?

 Instead of adopting a product centric approach of directly advising in Stocks, Mutual Funds or Insurance Policies to invest in, a good Planner will first create a financial roadmap for you. This will give you a clear picture of what you need to save and invest to achieve your goals.

Is he available at my beck and call?

 A good Financial Planner will not only be available whenever you have any doubt with respect to your finances and investments but will also conduct periodic reviews to ascertain your progress and evaluate the performance of your investments.

Will he act as a guardian of my wealth?

 Most MF advisors only look at MFs, stock brokers will take care of only stocks and Insurance agent will only advise on Insurance. A good Planner will take the role of a family doctor – look holistically at all investments – Insurance, MF, Stocks, Loans, Real Estate, FDs etc and advise even if he isn’t directly handling them.

The most important question to ask is - Will he follow a process?

Just like a doctor first diagnoses and then recommends a treatment, a good Planner will – * Ask questions about your family, your goals, income, expenses, insurance, investments, tax situation, wills, nominations etc. * Conduct a Financial Fitness Check to understand your current financial scenario and risk appetite. * Recommend how and where to invest your money to achieve your goals. * Without this process, it’s just like a doctor recommending medicines without doing a diagnosis.

Thus, as you can see above, choosing a Financial Planner is a very important decision that will not only help you secure your future but also help avoid making financial mistakes that doctors are prone to making. With almost everyone using similar designations in the Finance industry, differentiating between the noise and the real deal is becoming increasingly difficult. Make sure you understand your financial needs and consult only an expert for handling your hard-earned money.

Other than approaching a good Financial Planner, doctors should also focus on setting their financial goals. When you keep in mind the life-cycle and unique financial requirements in each phase you can plan your finances better.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Amar Pandit

Amar Pandit is an electronics engineer, who started working with TCS. Later he moved to the US, post TCS, and started working with Infrasoft Technologies. He is one of the top most practicing Certified Financial Planners in the Country and is a member of Financial Planning Standards Board, India and Financial Planning Association, USA. In March 2015, Amar founded My Life… Happily Documented, an enterprise which enables families to keep their confidential and other important documents safe and easily accessible using technology.

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