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The greatest financial planner

/ 12:16 AM April 12, 2017

Question: I am looking for a great financial planner. Can you recommend one? —asked at “Ask a friend, ask Efren” free service available at www.personalfinance.ph and Facebook.

Answer: Instead of providing you a name, I will instead provide you first with criteria for choosing a great financial planner.

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1. Experience: More than certifications and being a bookworm, a great financial planner is one who bears the experience in actually practicing the four pillars of personal finance, that of cash, debt, risk and wealth management. A great financial planner must not have just chalked up wins but also losses, for it is in losing that he himself learns one of the more important lessons in personal finance and that is on taking risks.

2. Empathy: A great financial planner is one who can empathize with his clients. His experience is so alive in his memory that it gives rise to a burning passion to help steer his clients in the direction of financial freedom. To this end, a great financial planner will go the extra mile in getting to know his clients very well. And because he knows that experience is many times the better teacher, he will not baby his clients. Instead, he will let them see to a limited extent the impact of poor financial planning decisions. To a great financial planner, he succeeds only if his clients succeed first.

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3. Coach: A great financial planner does not just give lectures or motherhood statements. Because of his overarching desire to see his clients achieve their financial goals, he will handhold them until they can set out on their own. In this regard, a great financial planner will have client engagements that extend beyond a few hours.

4. Reasonable fees: Providing financial planning advice is an advocacy. A great financial planner knows that if he does not give value for money, he will only be digging a deeper hole for his clients to fall into if he charges excessively. He will sometimes delay charging his fees, give steep discounts or provide pro bono services to his financially distressed clients.

Now, who fits the bill in terms of being a great financial planner? They would be your parents.

Your parents have a wealth of experience not just with money in particular but also with life in general. They have had their own fair share of wins and losses. They are overflowing with empathy for you as you are their own flesh and blood.

Your parents have coached you since you were born and will continue to do so until their last breath. They charge in kind but, often times will settle for no repayment. They will literally give their life for you.

So, if you are looking for a great financial planner, look no further. Remember that charity begins at home.

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