The World needs Real Financial Planners like you NOW…

Amar Pandit , CFA , CFP

Amar Pandit

A respected entrepreneur with 25+ years of Experience, Amar Pandit is the Founder of several companies that are making a Happy difference in the lives of people. He is currently the Founder of Happyness Factory, a world-class online investment & goal-based financial planning platform through which he aims to help every Indian family save and invest wisely. He is very passionate about spreading financial literacy and is the author of 4 bestselling books (+ 2 more to release in 2020), 8 Sketch Books, Board Game and 700 + columns.

While most of the industry indulges in product sales blatantly, some of the real financial planners hesitate to even market their services well. They somehow have been made to believe that sales is bad. I would not get into this argument at this point but let me clarify what the real meaning of the word “Sales” is.

The word “Sales” evolved from the Swedish word “Selvig” which means “Serve”. However, ask anyone and the first thing that most people entering this profession (looking out for a job) will tell you “I don’t want to do Sales”. The real meaning of this word has been lost and most people think of Sales as convincing someone to buy something that they do not want.

I will now tell you a real-life story that would probably engage your thinking in a different way.

Harish Gandhi was a 53-year-old Corporate Executive with an MNC in Mumbai. Around 3 years back, he thought of retiring from his work to focus on trading as he was making some decent amount of money. He quit his job and focused on this full time eventually making losses trading in F&O, getting stressed and then an untimely heart attack. He left behind his wife Hema, aged 50 years and 2 children, who had just begun their careers.

A real financial planner with a solid conscience Mahesh met Hema 2 years back and had walked her through the financial planning journey. She liked the process, saw value, and decided that she should pursue this path. However, her account was at a brokerage firm of a large bank and her relationship manager managed to convince her otherwise. Mahesh did not pursue this thinking he would appear pushy and it’s not appropriate to do so (after all, we have an image to maintain that actually ends up costing people) and the client will come when they realize his value.

Fast forward last week – Mahesh was reaching out to all his prospects and people that he knew to just check on them and he managed to connect to Hema. To his horror, Hema told him “Mahesh, we lost everything, and I am waiting for my heart attack to happen”.  Mahesh was stunned at this line and he dug further to figure out that in the last 3 months, her investment account was down from Rs. 2.6 Crore to Rs. 25 Lakh. The relationship manager had nothing to say and she blamed the markets for a 90%+ erosion. Not just this, Hema’s 2 children had lost their jobs. Hema told Mahesh “I don’t know why I didn’t listen to you. If you had insisted on me doing what you were telling me to do, I would not be in this situation. I know it’s my mistake that I didn’t listen to you”.

Mahesh went through what had happened and then told her few next steps to be taken with her existing account to prevent any further damage. He organized a Zoom call with Hema, her brother and her 2 children on how the family can be back on their feet in the next several years. Mahesh told them “I am there for you and in the next 5 years we will get back to where we were slowly and steadily saving and building back the portfolio. First things first, let us figure out what we will need the next 2 years and the best way to build an income stream. Send me your resume and I will try my best to even do something on your job front”.

I will not get into the details of this but there was a lot of stuff that Mahesh did for the family. Hema cried and thanked him so much for all that he was doing for them.

Mahesh called me up a few days later, narrated this story and told me that he cried that night, and this has been bothering him since. He said “I felt guilty that it was my mistake not to push her to do the right thing. I don’t know why we hesitate when others are so aggressive and busy selling the wrong thing”.

I told him this is exactly why the entire industry gets a bad name. The people who do not care about their clients demonstrate not just fraudulent but harmful behaviour whereas the people who really care shut up and are not persuasive enough. I told him that he needs to be a Persuasive Educator and there is a difference between being a Real Financial Planner and Product Salesperson. A Real Financial Planner is not afraid of being persuasive because he knows that he is doing it with the best interests of the clients in mind. Just like our parents used to tell us (while growing up) to eat vegetables that we did not like, they did not give up on us even when we screamed and threw tantrums. They knew it was good for us. Period!

I am so proud of Mahesh who is now helping rebuild this family’s financial life and acting as support to them during their most difficult times.

Don’t be afraid or guilty of whether the client will think of you as pushy. You have their best interests in mind. If that is so, you need to ensure that no one comes between the client and their goals, not even the client. You have been blessed with this craft/skill and you need to make sure that people benefit from this.

Nick Murray in his book “Around the year with Nick Murray” writes about Author Joseph W. Jordan’s thoughts from his book “Living a life of Significance” that “our reluctance is not merely irrational but even immoral, in that families will be destroyed financially if we have the power to save them but make no offer of that power”.

True that. I totally believe in this and live by this truth. There are so many pre-retirees, elderly retirees, widows/widowers, divorcees, and many others who need to be protected from predators. Rescue these people and take care of them like you would take care of your parents. The world needs Real Women and Men like you.