Problem Creators and Problem Solvers
I think most people will agree with me when I say that we ought to be vilifying problem creators and rewarding problem solvers. For example, society seeks to punish criminials, and hires policemen to protect society from criminal acts.
Is this the case for the financial planning industry?
Product pushers earn handsomely for selling profitable and dubious products to their clients, creating all kinds of financial problems for their clients along the way. Product providers are more than happy to glorify such top producers by highlighting their sales achievements as well as sending them to luxurious incentive trips all over the world. A certain international organisation also accords insurance agents who earn more than $100,000 of first-year commissions with fanciful titles and awards.
What about the problem solvers in the industry? I know of a fellow planner from another company who is facing a commission cut for low revenue. A colleague of mine who only recently joined has decided to drop out. Another is giving himself a few months for things to turn around, failing which he would leave. A veteran in my company is being made use of by some shrewd individuals to do practically free work.
This crazy industry rewards problem creators and punishes problem solvers! Have you noticed and wondered why some of my colleagues and I write rather pessimistic blog entries?
I am lucky to have a supportive family and little financial liabilities to pursue what is ethically right, and not what is “practical” or “realistic” – words that some practitioners may use to describe their dubious practices. I am also fortunate that my business model is indeed practical and realistic, and it is picking up because I have met sincere and understanding clients who are indeed practical and realistic. I am working towards proving that my idealistic goal of being a proper problem solver is indeed practical and realistic.
It still makes me angry – or perhaps just exasperated and jaded – when I see clients with destructive financial portfolios that cost them tens of thousands of dollars and yet do nothing beneficial for their financial healths. I take care, effort and pride to solve these problems as best as I can so that my clients can heal from the damage caused. This is the least I will do for people who entrust me to solve their problems. There are a small number who somehow insist on creating problems for me when I try to solve their problems. At the risk of sounding like a broken record – I cannot help people who refuse to allow me to help them, nor seem to want to help themselves in the first place.
Financial problems are already inherent for everyone. We have limited resources, we face risks due to our mortality and we have to deal with economic and inflationary pressures. The last thing you want to do is to get into more problems by meeting someone who will create problems for you, whilst the few remaining problem solvers in the industry are forced out of the business and becoming extinct.