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A real financial planner

Most people don’t hire a financial planner in retirement because they can’t work out what to do themselves, given the time and inclination.

You hire a financial planner because they’re not you. We all have our blind spots. And it’s a real challenge for anyone to be able to manage money successfully themselves without becoming emotionally attached to it.

You struggle to move forward because you put a million obstacles in the way.

A real financial planner listens and understands you, asks really good questions and is totally transparent. They’re an independent third party who’s able to say, “Let’s look at this from a different angle” and help you make better decisions about money.



So what else should you look out for in a real financial planner?

A great relationship with your financial planner will see you sharing your goals and dreams. One of the greatest benefits your financial planner can bring to the table is to give you the space to talk about money in a way you’ve never talked about it before.

If they can help cut through all the noise around money and investing and simplify it in a way that you understand, that’s valuable.



Separated by a common language

Even when you’re talking the same language, there are times when your financial planner may be saying one thing, but you hear something different.

Risk and uncertainty are a classic example.

Your financial planner will be using these words and in their mind, they’re thinking about a statistical measurement. About something that can be measured and controlled, because we use terms like risk management and risk assessment.

But you are likely to be thinking something completely different. For some people, the word risk means ‘Am i going to be living on the streets next week if I get this wrong? Will my greatest fear come to pass?’ Another way of looking at risk for people outside of the financial world is that it’s what’s leftover after we’ve considered everything else.

A real financial planner will, of course, manage the technical risks when it comes to building a portfolio and considering insurance etc, but what they also need to be is comfortable going into the ‘space that’s left over’.



The space left over

A real financial planner will look you in the eyes and say, “I understand why you are scared. Let me walk you through the things we’ve done and then let’s get back to what you are feeling. Because I understand and I’m going be here for you.

If something uncertain shows up, I’ll be a guide in this new landscape and I’ve got tools in my backpack to deal with that situation.

We don’t even know what it is yet but I’m going be here for you.

I know you well enough that I can walk you in off that ledge or guide you through this forest or whatever it is I need to do and that’s the real role.”

So a real financial planner will have both the technical expertise and the emotional language and empathy to be really there for someone.

He’s an empathetic human being who understands that there is an art and a science to giving real advice.

I chat about the qualities of a real financial planner on episode 027 of The Retirement Café Podcast with The Sketch Guy, Carl Richards. Take a listen here.

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