In our increasingly complex world, we’re faced with more financial decisions than ever before. The environment we make these decisions in is growing more confusing, as well. There’s endless information to process, economic changes to understand and life events to plan for.
Despite this, fewer than 40 per cent of Australian adults has ever used a financial planner, according to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. A study by the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) found that long-term financial advice was positively correlated with better financial, physical and mental health – so what’s stopping so many of us from seeking help?
Let’s examine the anxieties that may be holding many of us back.
We may fear to commit to a financial plan because it requires some level of trust. Putting your financial wellbeing in anyone’s hands other than your own is daunting. After all, money is emotive – we work hard to earn it and the idea of following someone else’s advice on how we spend or invest it can be alarming.
The solution is to find a financial planner you trust. Meet with an advisor who works hard to uncover what is most important to you and learns to understand your goals, situations and reservations. An advisor who deals with compassionate advice will help you develop a plan that works with the way you want to live, not against it.
When we first sit down with new clients, there is often a reservation to share their honest situation. Money is not a subject that is often talked about and it can be difficult to know how you are doing and if you are in a relatively good position or truly in a place that needs a lot of help. Money also carries a lot of emotional baggage, whether we are conscious of it or not. Putting it all on the table can be daunting.
Once you have laid your cards out, however, there is often a feeling of relief. We work with many many people and over the years we have truly seen it all. There is nothing to be embarrassed about. What we do know is that everyone has a different journey to our door, and everyone will embark on a different journey when they leave. What matters to us is that we are helping make that journey the best possible one for each of our clients.
Accepting financial advice quite often means adopting lifestyle changes. Just the act of going from living without a plan to having budgets and strategies for your future is a significant change. That change can feel overwhelming.
On the other side of that change is a great big question mark. Even when a change feels measured, we rarely guarantee what the outcome will be. It often feels safer to stay in our ways, no matter how negative, because the devil we know is at least more comfortable for the moment.
Sometimes taking on financial advice also means accepting accountability for our monetary decisions, another intimidating change. Some of us prefer to avoid our money, so just the thought of being confronted with our spending habits can turn us off the idea of advice.
Overcoming this fear can be challenging, but is made easier by understanding the process of financial planning. When meeting with an advisor for the first time, be open about your concerns. Your advisor will discuss strategies with you to work through change and celebrate progress.
Beyond the initial confrontation with our own habits, many of us also feel apprehensive about the discipline and dedication required to live by a budget. We often want the benefits of a plan without the restrictions we expect a plan to bring. While discipline may seem possible in the short term, external cultural pressures make it increasingly harder as time passes.
All around us, there’s a constant pressure to have more and do more. Many of us experience the fear of missing out, so we give in to cultural pressures to spend outside of our budgets. There’s a false idea that to follow financial advice means entirely giving up spending on things and experiences that make us happy.
“From what I’ve seen, it isn’t so much the act of asking that paralyzes us–it’s what lies beneath, the fear of being vulnerable, the fear of rejection, the fear of looking needy or weak.”
This quote, from Amanda Palmer’s “The Art of Asking”, exposes some of what drives us to avoid financial advice, whether from paid professionals or family and friends. It’s our insecurities and vulnerabilities that often stop us from seeking help. We don’t want anyone to think we can’t figure things out on our own. Particularly when we see others around us thriving financially – we’re quick to compare ourselves and believe that if others get by without advice, so can we.
But this idea isn’t helpful to us, and it’s often formed from misconceptions. It’s misguided to assume successful people always figure things out on their own. Many of the world’s highest achievers got to where they are now with the help of a financial advisor – including the likes of Bill Gates.
Whether we’re struggling, feeling uncertain or just not achieving as much as we’d like, it’s important to put aside any insecurities we might have around showing vulnerability and asking for help.
Another quote from “The Art of Asking” drives this home: “There’s really no honour in proving that you can carry the entire load on your own shoulders.”
Financial planning doesn’t have to be scary.
There’s no reason to fear what the future holds – reach out to Invest Blue to start the conversation about your financial plan today.
What you need to know
This information is provided by Invest Blue Pty Ltd (ABN 91 100 874 744). The information contained in this article is of general nature only and does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. Therefore, before making any decision, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice with regards to those matters and seek personal financial, tax and/or legal advice prior to acting on this information. Read our Financial Services Guide for information about our services, including the fees and other benefits that AMP companies and their representatives may receive in relations to products and services provided to you.
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