I read in a recent “Practice Management” edition of the Journal of Financial Planning that most consumers feel they know quite a bit about various areas of personal finance, including retirement planning, life insurance, taxation, and estate planning. That’s interesting. It seems like whenever I talk to someone about personal finance – whether it be a client, prospect, or friend – they are full of questions. Maybe I just know a lot of people who weren’t included in this survey.
Or it could be that people know about areas of personal finance and may not know what to do with their knowledge. Most of us are practically bombarded with information, but that doesn’t necessarily make us better equipped to deal with our various struggles and challenges. The internet provides us with a seemingly endless amount of information but information is not the same thing as knowledge, and knowledge is not the same thing as wisdom. It is when information, knowledge, wisdom, consciousness and (ultimately) choice combine that desired results are achievable.
One way I help my clients is by helping them understand their situation as well as their options. Not all products/strategies are appropriate for everyone. Financial planning – when done well – is extremely personal and unique to each individual’s needs, goals, values, obstacles and resources. It’s one thing to know something but quite another to act on it at the right time and in the right circumstances.