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Financial planning is both an art and science

The plan has to make space for any changes/ financial developments on a continual basis and has to allow for course correction wherever needed.

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Financial planning creates the equilibrium between what we earn and/ or inherit on one hand and what we spend, invest for tomorrow and may will away or donate, on the other hand.

Money is one of the highest forms of energies and for any energy source to be effectively channelised, one needs training. Similarly, for money to be nurtured well, one needs a professional like a financial planner. A financial planner's job requires him to prepare for either contingency, what if the client passes away too early, or what if he lives for too long. The client or his dependants should be provided for in both cases.

Financial planning incorporates both art and science. As an art, it involves creativity, customisation and individual's behavioural relationship with money. All of this can evolve with time. It could also involve (to varying extents) education of minors on money related matters. The scientific part involves mathematical calculations on amounts needed for various goals, assumptions on performance based on historical data set and extrapolation of views leading to certain decisions, like where to buy a certain property meant for investment reasons, should it be residential or commercial, how much of loan to be taken for funding it and how much to be funded from one's savings, does an under construction one makes sense or a ready to move-in one seems more appropriate.

It comprises three steps, i) Risk Control, ii) Wealth Management and, iii) Wealth Transfer

Risk Control: Just as the brakes of the car are meant for the driver to catch speed (based on need and possibility), outsourcing of risk is needed so that individuals' can lead stress free lives and not keep worrying about the financial consequences of different 'what if's'. It covers various kinds of insurances like: life, medical, personal accident, etc, not just the right amount, but also appropriate products. It also involves keeping money aside for contingencies like, job loss, prolonged illness, any other unforeseen situation, etc.

Wealth Management: It incorporates planning for various goals. Just as we all slog at our workplace, every rupee we earn is our employee and there's no reason why it should not sweat it out for its master (us). Broadly, wealth management includes seeking to strike a fine balance between instant gratification and delayed gratification and between risk and returns.

Karunanidhi recently passed away at 94; so many of us might actually live to be 95 in times to come, largely owing to rapid medical advancements. Under these circumstances, we'd prefer our money outliving us, rather than the other way around, leaving us at the mercy of our kids or grandkids. In addition, a tendency to avoid investing in high volatility products like equities could nudge one towards sub-optimal returns. And, buying high risk products is not necessarily a precursor of superior returns.

Wealth Transfer: It refers to putting your game plan, of smooth transition of your assets to beneficiaries after your death, on paper. Writing a will decreases the chances of conflict and stress between beneficiaries and/ or relatives after one's death. It is believed that all great souls keep all their matters organised and sorted at all points of time.

For the financial plan to be holistic and relevant, the financial details required are; cash-flows (both inflows and outflows), assets, liabilities (how much you own and how much you owe) and goals being planned for.

After the financial plan starts getting adhered to, it makes sense to keep reviewing it on a quarterly or six-monthly basis. The plan has to make space for any changes/ financial developments on a continual basis and has to allow for course correction wherever needed.

The author is founder partner of Srujan Financial Advisers and author of 'Why greed is great'


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If someone was asked to talk about what takes place when a child is abused, they could say that they will be physically harmed or verbally put down. Alternatively, they could say that they will be neglected.

Then again, one could mention all of these things, meaning that it won’t just relate to one type of abuse. Clearly, irrespective of whether a child is hit or abandoned, for instance, it is not going to do them any good.

An All out Attack

What is also clear is that a child is likely to suffer even more if they experience more than one type of abuse. Their being will be violated in multiple ways and there won’t be anyone for them to turn to.

Ergo, a time in their life when they desperately need others, will be a time in their life when they are all alone. These experiences are going to stop them from being able to grow and develop in the right way.

One Need

In fact, this will be the last thing on their mind; what will be the most important thing at this stage of their life will be to merely survive. This is then going to be a child, not a soldier on the battle field, but they will be under attack by the people who are supposed to protect them.

What will most likely make it easier for them to handle this stage of their life will be the different defences that their body and mind utilise. Due to how small they are, they won’t be able to fight, but what they will be able to do is to freeze and they might be able to hide, for instance.

Many More

In addition to these two options, they will be able to leave their body and to go into their head. What this will do is stop them from having to be overwhelmed with pain, thereby making it easier for them to handle what is going on.

So as they are unable to remove themselves from their environment that is dysfunctional, they will remove themselves from the part of themselves that causes them to experience pain. Another thing that they can do is to dissociate from themselves, with this being a way for them to avoid what is going on in their body and mind.

An Observer

One will then be there, but it will be as though they are simply observing what is happening to them. In a way, it will be as if they are watching someone else go through what they themselves are going though.

If it wasn’t for these defences, they wouldn’t be able to survive this incredibly traumatic stage of their life. Hoverer, even though these defences may well allow them to survive this stage of their life, their life is not going to magically transform once they are an adult.

The Hell Continues

As a result of what they went through during these years, they might not be able to function as an adult. They could end up with all kinds of mental, emotional and physical problems that make it impossible for them to lead a ‘normal’ life.

But, as their early years were a time when they were severely harmed, how else are they going to be? Maybe they will be able to reach out for assistance and to start to heal the damage that was done, or maybe they will lead a miserable existence or even end up taking their own life.

A Different Experience

This is not the only type of abuse that a child can experience during their early years, though. There can be another type of abuse that they can experience and this can be far more subtle.

The child is then not going to be physically or verbally harmed, and they won’t be neglected either. This child can have caregivers who are very active in their life, taking them to all kinds of activities and lessons.

The Message

Throughout this time in their life, the child can basically be told by these people that they are perfect in every way. This can cause them to develop a superiority complex, seeing themselves as more-than human.

Their caregivers are unlikely to see their child as a separate individual; what they will do is see them as an extension of themselves. This is likely to show that the child is being brought up by people that also have a superiority complex.

Falsely Empowered

Once this child grows into an adult, they can be very confident but they will probably have the tendency to blame others whenever anything goes wrong. In other words, self-awareness might not be their strong point.

Thanks to how they were brought up, they can believe that they are above making mistakes or being the reason why something didn’t work out, for instance. This is likely to mean that it will be a challenge for them to have fulfilling relationships.

A False-Self

Underneath the image that they present to the world is likely to be someone who feels worthless. The reason for this is that their caregivers wouldn’t have been interested in who they were as a child; they would have only been interested in using them to fulfilling their unmet needs - living their life through them.

And the reason why they needed them to be perfect is most likely because they also felt deeply flawed at a deeper level. Thus, if their child was to do anything that proved that they were not perfect, it might have triggered their own wounds around feeling worthless.

Awareness

One way of looking at this would be to say that this is what takes place when a child is brought up in a narcissistic family. The child would have received attention, yet this attention wouldn’t have been for who they actually were.

So as this type of abuse if more subtle, it can take a while for someone to realise that their early years were dysfunctional. For someone like this to reach out for support, they might need to truly hit rock bottom.

​They could spend years with the view that it isn’t them who need to change, it is everyone else. If they do get to the point where they are ready to look in the mirror, they may need to reach out for the assistance of a therapist or a healer.

America, today, is portrayed as a divided society. In the news, we read “hate” groups and “hate” crimes on a regular basis.

So, let’s look at the emotion of hate.

The Emotions as Tools Model notes that each emotion informs you about how you perceive your surroundings. This is the message of the emotion. I discuss the Emotions as Tools Model in my book Emotions as Tools: Control Your Life not Your Feelings.

The message of hate is that you perceive a situation or person as extremely negative, or even demonic. Hate is a very strong emotion that is usually reserved for people whose actions you view as totally unacceptable, evil, or reprehensible. Presumably, you would want nothing to do with this person because he, she, or it is extremely toxic, negative or hurtful.

Logically, you’d think that your emotional reaction to hate would be to cut ties with or avoid the person or situation you view with such disdain. This is not, however, what frequently happens.

I need to say something about how we use the word “hate”.

While we may say “I hate Brussels sprouts.”, the word “hate” is the same as used in the word “hate” crime but the intent expressed is different. To be accurate here, while you might say that you “hate” Brussels sprouts, in reality, you just dislike them. If you really do not like Brussels sprouts, you wouldn’t order them in a restaurant.

And, while you might dislike them a whole lot, you probably are not emotionally attached to them.

With the emotion of hate, however, what you tend to do emotionally is exactly the opposite of what you would expect. Instead of moving away from the object of your hate, emotionally, you bind yourself to the person or situation just as powerfully as if you were in love with them.

Let me show you what I mean.

Imagine that you are facing a person and you are firmly holding both of their hands in yours. Everywhere they go, you go. And vice versa.

Think of this as love. You are emotionally connected to the person you love and they are with you all the time.

Now, let’s look at hate. You can visualize the emotion of hate by standing back to back with your partner and then firmly taking both of their hands in yours. As you can see, you are now opposite them in the sense that many people consider hate to be the opposite of love.

But, and this is the important part, you are just as securely connected to them as you are with love. Where they go, you go. And, they are with you all the time.

If you truly hate someone, you will realize that you can be consumed by your hate. Just as you can be consumed by your love.

This may be okay with love. It isn’t okay with hate.

When you truly hate someone, you might find yourself engaging more deeply with them perhaps to get revenge on or to hurt them in some way. When this happens, you are most likely also experiencing anger. The message of anger is that you perceive a threat to your values or sense of right and wrong and you believe you can “eliminate” the threat by throwing enough force at it. Hence, you are motivated to take forceful action against the person (or people) you perceive as a threat.

To mix anger and hate together can be very dangerous. The hate emotionally binds you to the person (or object of your hate) and the anger emotionally energizes you to take destructive action. Under these circumstances, logic and thinking about consequences often get eliminated. Think about hate groups, hate crimes, extreme discrimination, and so forth.

This is why you might want to avoid hating another person.

“Huh”, you say, “what does that mean?”

Well, as I said above, hate is a very strong emotion. When you are under the influence of hate, you tend not to take the next step in mastering an emotion which is to assess the validity of the message the emotion is communicating to you. Thus, with hate, you should assess both whether the object of your hate is, indeed, demonic AND whether the actions you are about to engage in (moving toward rather than away from that which you hate) will, improve the situation in which you find yourself.

So, what are your options?

If someone or something is, indeed, terrible, reprehensible, or demonic, you can decide to feel disgust toward them. The message of disgust is that you need to avoid or dispel the disgusting object. Think of Brussels sprouts as disgusting. If you find the actions of this despicable person as reprehensible and as a threat to your values or safety, you can use the energy of your valid anger to develop and execute a plan to neutralize this individual. You are now engaged with, but not necessarily irrevocably emotionally bound to, the person or situation.

I discuss anger and the anger cycle in depth both in my book Beyond Anger Management: Master Your Anger as a Strategic Tool.

For more information on mastering different emotions, click on over to my blog TheEmotionsDoctor.com and check out the Index tab in the upper right hand corner of the home page. This will give you a listing of all of my posts by category, title and date.

All of us are concerned about feelings, mainly our own. Sad to say, we give little thought to other people and their feelings and, as I said, we are rather egregiously and absolutely concerned with our own typical human self-involvement and egotism. This little essay will concern itself with analyzing feelings.

The first thing that must be said is that feelings are very inexact indicators of truth. Our feelings may be affected when someone chooses not to talk to us, or declines, or is indifferent to that issue. In reality, that person may be simply living their life without reference to our feelings at all, or to ourselves at all. We interpret their indifference or lack of attention to us as a stab at our feelings and personhood, At times, our feelings are affected when someone speaks to us in what we perceive as an overly harsh, cutting, and mean spirited fashion. That may be the way that person speaks to everyone and that particular behavior may be and is not directed to us or our feelings.

Thus as we see by these examples our feelings interpret things and twist them, misleading us, and so it may be said that feelings are not very exact indicators of truth. Second, in the present state of society, feelings do not occupy a very great role. An example would be the ideal of romantic love, which governed western culture for some 1900 years up to the present time when lust has taken over. lf we chance to view the movies or listen to the Broadway shows of the 1930s and 1940s, we see romantic love featured men and women approach each other gingerly and barely touch.

At that time in society, love was paramount, not lust. The films of that era depicted men and women as falling in love and getting married. The films of today portray them as jumping into bed, to wit the James Bond films. The popular music of our day is crude and its lyrics at times offensive, featuring animal passion as opposed to the love songs of South Pacific, one of the great Broadway shows of the 1940s, including "Some Enchanted Evening". If we have not grown up from love, we perhaps have grown away from it and so feelings are nulled and hidden and not really featured.

The delicacy of romantic love and the love songs of the Broadway stage have been overcome by crude, loud, blaring cacophony, featuring grotesquely offensive lyrics.

One may speculate that the reason for this is the decline of the Christian worldview which promoted love leading to marriage. That worldview has been slowly eroded and in some cases eliminated depending on who you are talking to.

A final point in this little literary byway about feelings is that feelings and emotions differ between child and adult. The child is concerned, if not twisted and obsessed with, his own feelings and being loved or better put being the recipient of love from his parents, teachers and other adults that he or she looks up to. Adult feelings are different. Compassion, kindness, and charity are adult emotions and feelings. They

concern themselves not with the feelings of our persons in our self but concern consideration and humanity as respects others. Only a mature adult can realize and express these feelings. What then can we say of feelings? What with cell phones, emails, computers DVDs, television, and movies feelings and relationships are distant and removed and so love is distant and removed. This is another reason why feelings are on the decline in our present society. We are more and more separated by technology and electronics and the opportunity to form giving, concerned, compassionate humanitarian relationships is becoming and has become more and more difficult if not unreachable.

One may hope that human relationships will make a comeback from the forces of darkness that assault us men and women A world without feelings between persons is a gray, boring world and is unforgiving and without growth and dynamism. One may hope that there will be a return to the romantic humanitarian ideal, which is the only way to true growth.

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