Product, product, product.

ProductWhy is it that when we think of financial planning, we think “product”? When we think of retirement planning we think Retirement Annuity (PRODUCT). When we think of dying, becoming disabled, or getting cancer, we think Life Insurance (PRODUCT). When we think of our children’s future education, we think education policy (PRODUCT). When we think of saving, we think unit trust (PRODUCT). It’s just PRODUCT, PRODUCT, PRODUCT.

I think the old school financial planning industry has largely been built around traditional insurance companies who have developed a PRODUCT for every event that one could think of (which isn’t the issue) and then built a sales force around those products and called them financial planners (which is the issue). They should have just called them distributors, because largely that is what they are doing.

Those type of planners have used financial planning as a means to distribute product to the end consumer. The financial plan has actually been built as a means to sell product. No wonder when we think financial planning we just think product, product, product. The industry has conditioned us to think like that. The emphasis has always been placed on the outcome in order to sell a product as opposed to the actual plan. The financial plan is a byproduct of trying to sell a product. WOW, talk about manipulation. Does your financial planner do this? I am sure not? No wonder most people hate financial planners.

So, whats the alternative? Do you actually want the alternative, or are you happy with just being sold a product? Perhaps you just want the transactional relationship and that’s fine, but then you are better off calling the insurance company directly and asking them to send you a broker who will sell you the cover they have on offer. He will do a good job, he only knows that company and he should know it well. You have probably identified what you want (as you have been conditioned to) so he doesn’t have much “planning” to do, just selling. Pay the commission and move on. Don’t expect more, well maybe some type of up selling in a years time, based on the fact that “your needs have changed”, so now you need more cover. At the same time, don’t talk badly about never hearing from your salesman, only when he wants to sell you something you don’t need. That is the relationship you have entered into and that is what you should expect.

Now, if you really want the alternative then listen up. Forget everything that the industry has conditioned you to think you want and just clear your mind. Let your lifestyle financial planner guide you in the conversation, open up and think about what he is saying. Don’t worry, he’s not doing it to try sell you something (you are paying for the plan, YOUR plan, the product doesn’t have to drive his recommendation). Answer the questions, ask him questions, think about what it is you want out of life right NOW, not 50 years into the future. Think about whats important to you, think about how things would be in your life if you had complete freedom, cash flow freedom (more coming in than going out). Freedom of time, what would you do with that time? Freedom of income security. I am not talking about hypothetical situations like you’ve just won R 105 000 000 on the power ball, what do you do kind of stuff? The types of things I have mentioned above, are all realistic and things that, if I know are important to you, I can start making sure we work towards achieving them, in small steps at first, but laying out the direction you need to be going and then putting measures in place to get there. That for me adds real value, and we haven’t spoke once about a product! We have addressed shortfalls and we have outlined measures to cover them and I haven’t had to sell you a single product. So, lets just forget about the products and GET REAL.

The products will always be there, they will always serve their purpose, no amount of real conversations can prepare you or your family for the day you have a heart attack, but no product can give you more time to go watch you child’s sport event on a Tuesday afternoon at 2.30pm. Both are important to you, both need to be addressed, but only one of those decisions leads to a grudge purchase, the other stems from REAL CONVERSATIONS.



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