December 27, 2013

Financial Planners – step back and laugh once in a while !

Rohit Shah
Founder, Getting You Rich

Sometimes we take finance and investing too seriously. Remember to step back and laugh once in a while. Using humor with clients can be more of a slippery slope than sharing personal stories because it’s hard to know what an individual client thinks is “funny”.  Times like these are challenging and many people are in need of a dose of humor, but before exposing yourself to your ultimate critic think carefully about the timing and the context of the humor you plan to use.


At its best, humor can disarm clients. Very little value gets added when clients are tense or embarrassed. In the right hands, humor helps establish rapport or underscores a point in a memorable way. A humorous anecdote can disarm a prospect or client, especially when the subject is difficult.

1.    Clients

a.    What’s the best way to handle a client who has counter point to every personal finance best practice, strategy, solution, approach, mitigation, roadmap you provide? Recommend him for Nobel prize for Economics.

b.    Client not signing off the plan? Try saying ‘I am thinking to make a case study on how financial planning can fail. Would you like to share your experience?”

c.    When a client has a negative cash flow, under insured corpus, excessive debt, no liquidity, ‘not within reach’ goals and if you still believe that you can help him achieve his financial dreams, then you are a true financial planner.

d.    The financial planner giving highest estimates on the retirement corpus gap, ‘still needed’ insurance cover, monthly savings to “achieve your financial dreams” is the only one with some clue on how to do his job.

2.    Prospects

a.    Got a prospective client who thinks he knows everything? Invite him on your blog to write on  “How Monte Carlo simulation is so productive and dangerously unhelpful while you disproportionately avoid a personal finance construct of a comprehensive financial plan that does not include retirement planning because now financial planning and execution are so different to comply with SEBI’s Regulation”.

b.    Prospect (CEO) “I am busy. Try calling me sometime later”. Me “Why don’t you call me back when you are free? Actually I am also busy for next one year but you can surely try your luck”.

c.    Earlier: Prospect “What’s your view on the Stock Market?” Me “It will either go up or down” Prospect “Good Bye” Me “Hello, are you there, are you there….” Now: Prospect “What’s your view on the Stock Market?” Me “Ah, I have no view”.

d.    Prospect “I downloaded your sample plan for time pass. I don’t need financial planning”. Me “Yes, You don’t need financial planning. You need schooling”.

e.    How to sign up a client who is not sure if he needs your service? Tell him that you have copy righted the “Only financial process that works under every circumstances including without the exception of forces majeure to include the magic of compounding notwithstanding to pre-exempt the impact of inflation so that you can meet your financial dreams that you were so far not even aware of” The prospect will either sign up or leave the country.

f.     How to get a border line prospect to sign up? Try saying “Look, I am thinking to offer you my plan for Rs. 15,000 but problem is that my wife has found out that other planners charge at least Rs. 25,000. So I am wondering…”

g.    How to pitch for MF business? Try saying “You can directly go with Direct Plans or indirectly try to be smarter, taking my help. Rest is your wish”.

3.    Myself

a.    Why President Obama avoided Syrian War and liquidity crisis? Linkedin tipped him that Rohit is about to release ‘yet another’ Campaign ‘Why Financial Planning is important in a deteriorating economic situation’.

b.    Why do I not focus only on Mumbai clients? Because the every other person here thinks he is an expert on Stock Market & knows everything about Money.

c.    If you think I am efficient, then credit goes to my team & my wife. Every task I delegate to them, they delegate it back to me.

d.    Monday to Friday, my team works so I don’t need to work. Saturday and Sunday I am not supposed to work. So, I don’t work.

e.    My sales pitch “Financial Planning is good for you as to Get Rich you have to positively grow your limited money under the influence of inflation, keeping in mind that equity gives best returns only in the long run which is long enough for you to learn how to be patient enough and then you have to urgently prioritize fixing your retirement corpus so that you save less for your already stretched child education goals and then see if you agree with the retirement planning at all.

4.    SEBI

a.    BREAKING NEWS: Sachin Tendulkar decided to retire as he found out that since there is lot of money in Cricket, there is shortly going to a new regulator as SCCI (SEBI for Control of Cricket in India)

b.    A group of Financial Planners has demanded that for level playing field, there be a regulator in politics like SEBI. Politicians should be allowed to either become minister or make money. If they wish to do both then, then they should have $5 Billion Networth, a proven track record in both and should first get elected in each & every constituency in the country.

c.    How to grow your email list? Announce that SEBI is shortly coming out with a new regulation that if an investor is already not subscribed to a personal finance emails, then they will have to comply with SEBI’s new regulation for “Investors Education”.

5.    Others

a.    Want all Indians to make a financial plan from tomorrow morning? Amend IT Act to add Section 80 (FP) to exempt the financial planning fees from taxable income.

b.    RTI for “How does the Government plan to address conflict of interest in the medical profession” is rejected siting causes of “national interest”.

c.    How come Bugs Uncle in IDFC Foundation’s ‘One Idiot’ movie managed to save Rs. 100 Crores? He threatened the society members to give him the money or else everyone will have to attend his lectures on ‘How ULIP products work’.

d.    If there was a Paan Singh Tomar race between Mr. Equity, Mr. Fixed Deposits and Mr. Real Estate, who will win? Of course Mrs. Gold will win. Ladies always come first!

e.    IT folks in Financial Planning field, now find it easier to answer “why server had crashed” then to explain “why equity has not performed in last 5 years”

There is an important difference between humour and comedy. Comedy relies on performance and the telling of jokes that can sometimes cross the line into off-colour remarks whereas humour goes beyond jokes and into a general appreciation life’s quirks and an ability to laugh at the foibles of the human condition. A sense of humour is a way of interpreting things around us. Just be sure to turn the punch line around on yourself and never anyone else.

Note: The author of this article believes in adhering to highest standards of client engagement. What is written above is a combination of experience and imagination, just to de-stress in an otherwise very serious financial planning business. 


Authored by,

Rohit Shah

Founder & CEO
Getting You Rich

5 Thoughts to “Financial Planners – step back and laugh once in a while !”

  1. Nice post. I liked the client not signing off bit. Not just once in a while…financial planners can relax and laugh all the time. Good for everyone around.

  2. Viveks says:

    An intelligent article;  a must-read for all IFAs.!

  3. Testing the comments

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