A few days back, I was sitting with financial planning in our Pune Office and we did a very detailed discussion on his financial life. We looked at various parameters and did basic number-crunching which gave a deeper understanding to this client about financial status.
The first step was to record all his financial details in one place and that exercise alone took more than 40 min because it’s a task in itself to just bring all the financial details in one place.
For the next 2 hours, the husband and wife were totally into discussing some of the aspects of their financial life which they had never thought of or never dealt in detail. It was a wonderful experience in itself.
2000+ Families have gone through the process
My team has done this same exercise with more than 2,000 families to date across the world (Indian residents and NRI’s). Most of these discussions have happened online and few of them have happened face to face. But overall, what matters is the interest and dedication of the client and not the medium of communication.
While we were doing this exercise with the client, I thought that there are many things which are so common among the clients we deal with. I can see a lot of things which get repeated all the time and there is a pattern with the majority of the cases.
So I thought why not share some of common observations and I made a list of 10 points which is true for almost 80-90% of the clients we have dealt till now.
These 10 points will give you a good idea of how a typical financial planning case looks like and you can also check if these points are true for you or not.
Let me put these points now one by one.
1. No idea of their exact expenses
One thing which is most common is that most of the people do not have much idea of their own expenses and how much they are spending in different categories. Now you will feel – “How is it possible, that a person does not know their own expenses?”
The point is that most of the people have a very vague idea of how much they are spending on various categories because most of the people do not note down and follow a stringent budget. People have a high-level idea for everything, but once they put down all the numbers – They get surprised on their own expenses and feel like – “Ohh .. I spend so much!!, Never realized that”
2. The legacy of LIC policies
Almost everyone who comes to us for financial planning always has 2-3 LIC policies which were taken long back for tax saving purpose. If not for tax saving purposes, it was bought by their parents and they are now continuing it and paying the premium.
They have a high-level idea of the Sum Assured and when it’s maturing and hardly a few people recall the exact policy name.
3. People are Surprised
When we do the detailed analysis and show where they stand in their financial life (backed by data and proper reasoning), most of the people are surprised on how bad or how good they are doing.
Mostly we all are so consumed in our life that we never realize the status of our finances. We have a very fuzzy understanding if things are going bad or good.
Some of the people realize that they are worrying too much, where as they are well placed and are on right track (very few people are like that) and majority of people realize after meeting us that they have underestimated how bad they are in their financial life and its HIGH time they need to quickly take action.
4. Confused on how much they would need to retire today
When we discuss their retirement planning, almost everyone fails to reach a number which will be enough for them to retire today.
Just think about it.
If I ask you today that assume you retire today and you have to spend another 30-40 yrs of your life without any debt or EMI burden and no commitment like children related expenses. Assume you are 60 yr old today, and now need a big amount to live your life till you die, how much money would you need?
Just think about this for yourself and you will realize that it’s a tough question to answer. Will it be Rs 2 crore? 5 crore? 10 crore?
5. No clear Financial Goals in life
Most of the investors we see are mostly living in present and dealing with financial goals as and when they arrive. They know they would need “lots of money” in the future. But almost no one has properly planned for their financial goals.
One of the couples we met recently wanted to plan for their kid’s related goals. The wife was clear that the education was the biggest goal, but the husband was confused if they should also plan for the Marriage goal or not.
6. Decisions are taken based on “Instant Gratification”
We see that almost everyone has taken lots of decision-based on “instant gratification” or “the short term benefit” . Someone called from the bank and said they will save tax on a product, and they buy it.
The gold prices were rising and it “felt” right decision at that moment, so they bought lots of gold and not from the last 4 yrs gold has given a 0% return.
Like this, we see that decision is not carefully thought of with all pros and cons, but rather a very narrow approach.
7. “I could have done much much better” – The feeling of Regret
Every 1 out of 2 people we dealt with told us that they regret what they have done with their finances in the past and they wish if they could have done things differently.
More than doing “right things” , these people have done many “wrong things” and that has a higher impact (in a negative sense) in their financial lives.
8. The biggest part of Net worth is the House on loan
Almost always the house was the biggest part of the net worth, not the mutual funds, or stocks or fixed deposits .. I think it’s because we mostly deal with middle class or upper-middle-class salaried investors and the house is generally there in the portfolio.
Almost everyone had a big home loan.
9. Too many financial products
These people are more of product collectors who have added something new in their financial life each year when the tax season comes or whenever they had surplus money.
This is one reason that their financial lives get very complex.
10. Unable to meet Financial goals with current resources
When we check if these investors will be able to achieve their financial goals or not. We find that most of the people are not going to reach their goals easily .. and in some cases, they are seriously short of money and are in very bad shape.
It’s like a disaster waiting to happen. Investors are already in the age range of 40-45 yrs. They have some portfolio, but looking at their financial goals, it feels like they will be able to reach just 30-40% of it ..
Bonus #11 – Low Finscore©
So you must be wondering what is this “Finscore©” .. It’s our copyrighted model of evaluating someone’s financial life based on 15 parameters and it gives you a score from 0-100 (something like CIBIL) and almost 8 out of 10 people get low to average Finscore©.
Do you want to know what is your Finscore©? If Yes, apply for Financial Planning and our team can talk to you regarding the next steps