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Why you need a money manager
Joydeep Ghosh
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August 23, 2007

Rising incomes, more investment opportunities, interesting products like Ulips, increase in tax nuances... all these developments are forcing the new age wage earner to be more careful about the way they insure and invest themselves.

And to meet the demand, a new kind of professional is fast emerging who offers these personalised services to you - a financial planner.

These professionals help you to structure your finances, depending on your financial goals. For instance, if you want to buy a house in three years' time, they would tell you how to start saving now so that you have the 10-15 per cent that you require to put as your contribution.

Says Govind Pathak, director, Acorn Wealth, "Whenever a new client comes in, I meet both the husband and the wife to get a clear idea of their goals."

According to him, it is necessary to meet the family so that there is no mismatch of goals at a later date. Also, a planner needs to know the lifestyle, limitations, tax bracket and dependents to prepare a complete package.

Adds Amar Pandit, director, My Financial advisor, "The idea is to take a holistic view of the person and his finances."

He says that often client approach with great incomes but negative cash flows. "We have to give priority to exit the expensive loans, create a positive cash flow, then go for financial goals of such clients," explains Pandit.

The process begins with getting the right insurance, "so that they do not have to dip into their assets in an emergency," adds Pathak. So, life insurance, medical insurance and home loan insurance comes first. This is followed by investment. Here, the planner decides upon a number of things.

Asset allocation among different asset classes like real estate, equities, debt and others comes first. Then within that asset allocation, one has to divide the money further.

For instance, if one is investing 30 per cent in equities, then there has to be a division between diversified funds, debt funds, sector funds and stocks to get the best results. This division depends on the age and risk profile of the person.

So how much do all these services cost you? There are two kinds of planners. One, who charge you an annual fee for the planning. This fee could be either an yearly charge or a per cent of the assets being managed.

In figures, this number could be between Rs 15,000 and Rs 50,000 per annum or 1 to 2 per cent of the assets under management. Two, there are planners who do not charge any fees but earn from commissions from the products they sell you. And then, there is an amalgam of both.

Planners who charge a fee would normally do the planning and advise/identify the products that should be in your portfolio. On the other hand, the ones that charge commissions will plan as well as sell you the products.

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