Does everyone need to hire a financial professional to manage their finances? I don’t think so. I have come across many people who have done an excellent job in managing their own financial affairs well. Some of these people have done it all without the assistance of a financial professional. I’ll admit that I see more people who have messed things up, but that’s another story! Financial advice – can I do it myself? At the risk of doing myself out of a job – yes, if course you can! Like any DIY job, getting it wrong can be expensive so here are some DIY financial advice tips.
1: Understand where you are now. This involves having a good understanding of your own financial affairs. Things like knowing your income v expenditure, what insurances you may have and what they are for, an understanding of your mortgage arrangements, the interest you are paying on it and any other loans, your pension and retirement arrangements, and your savings. You’ll also need to understand your tax position and what you’d like to happen to your assets when you die. Knowing where you are is the foundation. Like starting any journey, your starting point is crucial, and you’ll have no chance of getting to where you want to be without knowing where you are now.
2: Know where you want to be. Now that you know where you are, ask yourself how this knowledge makes you feel. Do you feel worried and anxious or content and secure? Do your financial affairs fill you with dread or hope? If they fill you with dread, you’ll need to make some changes. But what changes? This is where you’ll need to visualise your goals and understand where you want to be. This part of the journey is your destination. Scarily, your destination may not be static, but fluid and constantly moving. Don’t worry about that. Once you know roughly where you’d like to be, you can start planning how to get there.
3: What are the possible ways of getting there? 25 years ago, you may have had to take a trip to the library to get information on financial topics. Even then, finding the information you needed would have been difficult and even soul destroying. Things are very different today. There is a huge amount of information available on the internet – perhaps too much. Investing, risk, retirement planning, estate planning, taxes – it’s all out there. If you are interested in these topics and have the time to dig in and learn, this could be help you manage your own money.
4: Don’t over-think it. It’s one thing preparing your own financial plan. Acting on it is quote another. Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday. It takes confidence to act on your own financial decisions and often, we procrastinate and over-think with the worry of getting it wrong. This is the big killer, and it is precisely this lack of confidence that stops many people acting and getting moving. Every day spent procrastinating is another day spent worrying about that thing. Do it now and move on with your life!
5: Don’t be afraid to ask for help: With a modicum of intelligence, the right amount of time and some dedicated study, you may be able to run your financial affairs yourself. There may however be some gaps in your knowledge, and this is where you could ask for help. No one works for free, and if you engaged a financial adviser, you would have to pay for that service one way or another. Building the foundations, yourself could help reduce the time a financial adviser would take to help you thereby reducing your costs. he could then go into depth with you on subjects you may not be familiar with, such as taxation of investments, investment platforms, risk and investing in stocks and shares. The experience of trying to do it yourself would help give you a better understanding of your own circumstances, which is a worthwhile investment in time in itself. Time to get cracking!