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What Can a Financial Counselor Do for You?

The answer to the above question is ‘a lot’.

When it comes to personal financial planning, many believe that reading a few books, some business magazines & newspapers and watching a couple of business channels, is more than enough.

All this, of course, is good. There is no harm in learning. In fact, some basic level of understanding of the various financial products is a must. You can’t be totally and blindly relying on others for something as important as your personal finances. Besides, this knowledge is also necessary to prevent anyone from taking you for a ride.

You must, however, recognize that the world of finance is quite vast. Home mortgages, credit cards, insurance, estate planning, retirement planning, taxation, mutual funds, bonds, stocks etc. etc., the list is quite long. Therefore, if you are not in the business of finance, it is humanly not possible for you to know and keep regular track of all these. Even finance professionals specialize only in a few areas.

While the choice – need-based or full-time counselor – depends on your situation, your level of understanding of financial matters and the time you can devote, working with a financial counselor, can surely add value.

# You get to learn the hidden facts

The knowledge that you gather by reading may at most give you a basic understanding about various financial products and investment avenues. However, there are always some nuances and complexities involved in any such product.

It is the role of the financial advisor to make you aware of them and help you to understand the product better. Little knowledge can sometimes be harmful. By making you aware of the hidden facts, your counselor can assist you in making the right decisions.

# Brings objectivity to your financial desires

The financial counselor, like your doctor, must understand your financial situation, which is unique to you. Accordingly, his advice must effectively address your desires and concerns. However, your counselor, by virtue of his knowledge and experience, can look at the bigger picture, which you may be missing.

He will bring objectivity to your thoughts. For example ‘I want to retire as soon as possible’ becomes say ‘I want to retire by 45’. Besides, he also provides the discipline you will need to achieve your goals by keeping you on track.

Further, given the whole gamut of investment avenues available, your counselor can help narrow down the list to only those, which suit your investment objective and risk appetite.

# Day-to-day management

You are usually busy with your job or business. Sometimes you may be out of the city on a business tour. Or you are busy with a forthcoming presentation. Or possibly you have gone on a vacation.

In a nutshell, you don’t have sufficient time to deal with the day-to-day issues pertaining to your finances. Your financial counselor can ensure that, in your absence, any minor issues are promptly attended. He can also assist in your budgeting and financial planning.

# Personal information bureau

As the world has shrunk into a global village and the pace of life has increased tremendously, new developments keep taking place in the world of finance practically every other day. Some of them may impact your finances too.

It is not possible for you to keep track of all these events. You need someone, whose job is to be aware of all that is happening and keep you updated. You don’t want to miss out on any opportunity. Or get caught on the wrong foot. Your financial counselor becomes your personal information bureau.

# Will not let you push things under the carpet

When people are not comfortable with something, the basic human tendency is to procrastinate; to push it ‘under the carpet’ so to say. In today’s dynamic world, this can be disastrous. If the financial situation has changed and you have not taken appropriate action to deal with that change, you can end-up losing a lot.

You may be slipping into a debt problem. You may either not notice it or even if you did, the first reaction invariably would be to ignore it and hope that things would get better. But debt is like a quagmire, the more you delay the worse it gets. And by the time you force yourself to attend to it, it might be too late. If you had a financial counselor, he would warn you, discuss with your creditors and try to find a solution before things get out of hand.

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