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Decision Paralysis. Who, How, What, When, Where and Why?

Bunny & CarrotsWho, How, What, When, Where and Why?

We all get stuck at times. Be it as a result of a significant event. Be it while we're on the path we are on, or even after we have accomplished a massive goal we set ourselves.

Added to this, our confusion can be magnified and blurred by the very expectations we put on ourselves, what others are telling us, or even as a result of our rebirthing in a new awareness of our previous actions.

While confusion can be a time of heightened anxiety and paralysis. If we can maintain our focus, we stand a better chance to see the forest through the trees, making the expereince less scary and one of courage, empowerment and emancipation.

The challenge and luxury we face today is that life is filled with societal support (at least in developed countries) and conveniences allowing us the luxury us to stay stuck in our funk and us to navel gaze even longer while life continues to roll on and we remain stalled in a fog of confussion. Rather than putting in the courage and effort to live a life that fulfils both ourselves and others. 

Some of us may choose not to do anything because the pain of change is greater than the pain to remain unchanged. Others may choose to stay stuck and paralysed in a state of decision paralysis. However choosing either of these i.e. avoidance or denial is to experience a slow death akin to a bower constrictor slowly choking the life out of its prey. 

Personally when I find myself stuck in this funk of confusion I like to remind myself that

  1. Sunlight is the best disinfectant and
  2. So is salt water.

Shortly after you’ll find me at a beach and going for a swim, however whatever works for you, you must do it!

What has this got to do with financial planning? Well everything!

The good news is that you/we already have all the answers within ourselves to all our questions. It’s just that sometimes we get stuck trying to make the right choice.

This is simple to say what we need to do, but it’s really hard to actually do it and see it through. Which is probably why with so much literature and knowledge at our finger tips, we still continue to see a rise in financial anxiety, stress and mental illness in our society.

The best financial planners help you become more you. They are part councillor, strategist and accountability coach.

It is in this united delivery in unison that clients receive the most value. Fueling them with greater empowerment to be more of who they are along with help implementing the methods and accountability to become who they want to be.

The practical reality for the best financial planners, is that to be able to deliver this exceptional value to their clients, they can only do so for a limited number of people. My calculations is this a maximum of eighty to one hundred clients per adviser.

This is why we (and from conversations with other advisers I know that we are not alone) have had to make the difficult decision to cease providing ongoing advice and support to about 30% of our long standing clients.

The other reality is that with the ongoing exit of financial advisers from the industry, due to large institutions existing the industry, adviser retirement, increased regulation, education standards and increased costs people will have smaller pool of financial advisers to help them. My estimations is that within the next few years there will be 40% less advisers in Australia or approx fifteen thousand remaining.

While this is good news for the advisers who remain and continue deliver exceptional value to their clients. It is fast becoming a perfect storm and headache for policy makers.

On one hand policy makers have been successful in improving the quality of advice, however doing so they have made advice inaccessible to the majority. Their decision are sowing the seeds for the majority to have less choices when seeking advice and potentially increasing the reliance on the government/nations purse if these majority cannot financially support themselves in their retirement.

Which brings me back to this topic I started about confusion.

To the clients who are waiting to see what will happen with their adviser. The reality is that if your adviser is intending to exit the industry and you are waiting for this to happen before choosing another adviser. There is a high probablity that there will be less advisers to help you. Meaning you may have no choice (due to increased costs) but to go it alone.

To the policy makers. Change is hard and even harden when trying to improving quality while maintaining efficiencies and keeping costs down. The saying “Good. Fast. Cheap. Please choose two” comes to my mind. I also believe that making financial planning advice tax deductible would be well received by all parties and help in making advice more affordable. Food for thought.

To the advisers who intend to exit the industry but not yet. What a journey. I remember being told when I first joined the industry that the only constant is change. Between market crashes, increasing education, increases in costs, new regulations, regulator enquiries, a royal commission and big institutional exits. It’s been a long hard journey just keeping up with the pace these changes, while still being there for clients. I understand you decission to exit and I wish you all the very best.

To the advisers who are staying on. Congratulations. Let’s welcome and embrace this new dawn. We have the important and honoured role to become leaders in a rightly trusted profession that will become an aspired career choice for future generations, however this is not a given but must be earned.

If you are stuck in a funk or you’re lost in a cloud of complexity feel free to contact me. Most often in life we just need someone to talk things through and to lighten our load a little. My following articles may also be of help

How much is your job costing you?

Finding your sweet spot

Be More You

This post was written by Peter Horsfield, as such they are his personal views.

Peter helps you to focus on what’s most important, the right strategies at the right time. To learn more about How to become Financially Independent visit Peter Horsfield Smart Advice

About Peter Horsfield

Peter Horsfield in an Authorised Representative and Investsure Holdings Pty Ltd ABN 16 050 286 630 as trustee for Horsfield Family Trust ABN 55 609 068 513 is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd ABN 47 097 797 049 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence No. 236523.

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Investsure Holdings Pty Ltd ABN 16 050 286 630 \(t/as Horsfield & Associates\) is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd ABN 47 097 797 049, who holds an AFSL and Australian Credit License No. 236523.
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