I used to think that financial planning makes people disciplined in finances. Proper financial planning takes away most of stress from their financial lives, and following a written financial plan, lead people concentrate on what’s important, makes them organized and purposeful.
Well, my thoughts were true but in reality most of the time only those people ask for financial planning who already are living a stress-free, healthy and disciplined life. So becoming somewhat more disciplined in finances is not that difficult for them. Whereas those who are already in a soup and leading a stressed life, though know what is to be done but don’t take any action and seek out some or other easy solution to get away with it.
I have been observing this for quite a few days now, that those who’ve got their financial planning done through me, were already organized and disciplined in their life and this was one of the main reason for them to ask for comprehensive financial planning too. Means they already know what’s important to them, they have specific priorities and know how to maintain the work-life balance. I just joined them in their journey of wellness.
Since this was only my observation and limited to Good Moneying clients, so I thought to have other planners’ views too, to remove the biases. I shared my thoughts with my friends and fellow financial planners and asked for their experience. You won’t believe, my observations were not wrong. Most of the people, who ask for financial planning, are already living a planned life. They consider money as important part of life and thus don’t want to ignore this front too.
Please note that this is not a formal survey of planners or planning clients, but a general observation of the existing client base of different financial planners and their opinion. Some of the habits of financially planned people as observed are as follows:
- Non smokers
Those who are financially planned, most of them are non-smokers. You call it a coincidence or what, but all planners whom I enquired from replied that around 80% of their Financial Planning clients are non-smokers.
I take only smoking as criteria as I think 1 cigarette is more dangerous than 1 peg of whiskey. Even Life insurance companies feel so, that’s why they charge a higher premium from Smokers. However, abuse of both is bad.
The idea behind people’s smoking is to ease out stress. It’s a kind of self-medication for them. Stress generally affects us when we feel unable to cope up with unwelcome pressure. But what people don’t realize is that Nicotine though provides some relief from stress and anxiety but that relief is temporary and soon gives way to withdrawal symptoms and increased cravings.
Personal finance itself is a stressful subject, but this can’t be managed through smoking. It needs action. And this is what financially planned people do “Take action”.
We can interpret from this observation that financially planned people know the long term bad effect of smoking and when they are working towards financial freedom how can they be a slave to a small stick of nicotine. They know that it is impossible to eliminate stress, so it’s wise to manage it in a healthy way.
In my case, most of my clients do regular exercise too. Some do gym or yoga, some go for cycling, and some are regular runners. Non-smoking plus exercising leads to a good combination for leading a stress managed and healthy life.
- Social media
Though I am also on facebook, but still I love to call it Fakebook. Anyone can create anything and without verifying the facts anyone shares anything. There are various groups where people discuss and shares personal finance articles and also give and take advice on what and where it is good to invest.
Can you believe it, Investment advice on Social media? Yes on facebook, you will find a free flow of investment advice. Where on one side SEBI is cautioning people to deal only with SEBI registered investment adviser, there anyone or everyone can give and take financial advice on social media and investors feel proud in getting advice “FREE of COST”.
Well coming back to the client’s habits – Very few of financially planned clients are on Fakebook, leave aside being part of such groups and killing time there. They follow a selective approach and chose the social media platforms carefully. Most of them are on Linkedin.
Even those who are on Facebook they are there to socialize, but also rarely seen spending time over there. They have busy working and social life. They want to use their limited time productively, so they know what they are doing and why.
- Work Life balance
This term looks somewhat difficult to achieve in today’s kind of fast-paced world, but in case of those who are successfully planning their finances well (especially in our client’s List), work-life balance is something they always look forward too.
Some are actually working towards it. They do spend time with their family, going on vacations with family is always on their priority list which they do plan it in advance and that too in their budgets. Keeping personal and professional life separate has become their basic nature.
This can easily be gauged from the fact that they have hired us to do their personal finance work J.
They know what is important to them and which area in life requires their personal attention. They know that no one but only they can spend time with their family, go on vacations. They know that they can’t hire someone else to read a book for them. They know that to exercise they can’t tell anyone else to do it for them. They know if they have to sleep, only they can sleep.
They know the importance of managing personal finances, and also know that this is something which can be delegated to professionals, so they can use their own time on other important things.
It is not that they themselves cannot manage it, but they know the priorities and understand that if they can borrow the time, skill and expertise of some other person in exchange of few rupees then why not. This allows them to utilize their own personal time efficiently on other important things, which can’t be borrowed.
Besides personal life, in professional life too, they are delegators. Either some are at a very good post in the job or at least managing a team.
You can’t do everything yourself, you need support and guidance of others to grow in life. Though it is difficult to say that successful people are good delegators or delegators are successful, but on the face of it both seems correct.
- Price Vs Value
They understand the difference between price and value. Time value of money or money’s value in time both are important to them. They never hesitated spending on something which they feel brings productivity in their life.
No client who has ever negotiated on fee, stays longer with a planner. His focus will only be on the fee side and not the value the planner is bringing in life. Financially planned people always want their surroundings to grow along with them. They understand that if they want to grow they have to help their planners to grow along with.
They don’t hire a fee based planner because they have a lot of money to spend, but they do understand the importance of having their money managed by some outside expert. They know that if they themselves do it, they are bound to make behavioral mistakes which can be avoided by taking external help.
Also, they feel that their time is more valuable and when planner can save their precious time, then why not to spend own time on some other productive things like improving skills.
It’s like hiring a driver, so you can work on your emails and other things while traveling, or to take a power nap to get relaxed and more effective. This doesn’t mean that you can’t drive, but you value your time.
They never bothered about the Sensex/Nifty level of investment, as they feel that there’s value in following the process and they better should stick to it.
- They are organized
Most of financial planning clients are organized in their life. They never crib of not having time. They know if this is to be done, this has to be done. Calendars get blocked immediately. Ask them a particular document you will get in no time. Some do it themselves and some have office staff to take care of that. Whatever way it is work will be done.
They have complete hold on their financials, be it bank accounts, credit cards, investments etc.
Financial planning is all about being organized in money matters, so you can live healthily and stress-free. Practically those who are juggling with multiple priorities and finding difficulty in organizing the things require financial planning the most. But Reality is quite different. It is happening the other way round.
Unplanned and unorganized people may feel that once they are organized then only they will start thinking about their finances, they may be so stressed and looking for instant gratification of their problems. That’s why many resort to smoking, looks out for their answers at wrong places and gets missold easily. Taking the first step towards wellness is challenging for them.
Sometimes they know where they are going wrong but they are not ready to accept the mistake and take professional help to rectify it. ( Read: are you still searching for best financial planner?)
It’s like question of what came first, chicken or egg? Good habits make a man successful or successful man has good habits. I am nowhere saying that those who have these habits can only be financially successful, but these are some inevitable ones which help you in gaining success, whether you do it yourself or hire a planner to work for you.
Stephen covey, in his widely acclaimed book – “7 habits of highly successful people”, wrote that, “Depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do.”
So, it’s all about habits. Work on it for your betterment.
Do you relate to any of these habits? Please share your views and experiences.