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D.Muthukrishnan (Muthu), Certified Financial Planner- Personal Financial Advisor

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Weekend Jottings

Posted by Muthu on July 10, 2011

I was unable to write to you for last two weeks due to hectic pressure on personal front. 

I would like to thank once again for all the calls, emails and sms’es conveying your wishes and blessings for Vedanth. 

I go to my MIL’s house everyday and just keep observing Vedanth. Simply watching him for hours is a matter of joy. 

I’m pleased to inform you that ‘Business Standard’ interviewed me last week and posted some of my thoughts in one of their article. 

In between my last posting and this, ‘Nanayam Vikatan’ also published my contribution for two Q&As.

I’m thankful to all those in media who continue to provide me an opportunity.

I do not discriminate while choosing to work with clients. However I’m little wary of dealing with people from certain professions. Politics is definitely one such (is politics a business or profession? I would laugh if the answer is social work.). Even when I got a chance to meet politicians earlier, I’ve politely declined such opportunities. Politicians normally have a coterie around them who keep praising them to the skies. When one is used to hearing such praises every day, they start believing what they hear.

They demand that to be treated like kings (aren’t we living in a democracy?) and make you feel that it is your rare privilege to have come in contact with them.

Referred by a good friend and client of mine; I met a politician last week, who claims to have closer access to a very prominent politician. He said that he is very philosophical and very humble. I could sense what he said is not what he is. He did lot of name dropping (who’s who of the society) and the power he wields on various matters in his party. He said that sages like Ramana are split personalities and did not have the clarity he possesses. I’m least bothered about what he thinks of Ramana but there was no need for him to show his spiritual superiority and authority to a person who is visiting him for a professional purpose.

Though I met him to advice on his personal finance, I received lot of unsolicited advice right from my health to what meditation I should do. When one is powerful, he thinks he is an expert in all fields.

Also professional advice can be given to people who are receptive. Nothing much can be shared with those who claims to know everything.

Probably he expected me to praise him a lot; which I didn’t do. He may be the leader for his cadres or those who seek personal benefits and favours from his association. I don’t need any. All I expect is to have a client-advisor relationship.

Probably he expected me to keep following up with him to become his advisor. I wrote to him what my thoughts are and if he is willing to enter into a professional relationship like everyone else; he is most welcome. Otherwise, he would definitely find someone else who would admire his leadership and be thankful for the rare opportunity of becoming his advisor.

Interestingly even a retired middle class gentleman without benefits like pension makes it a point to pay my fees. The above politician said that he would pay me. So far he hasn’t. May be he would. Or is it difficult to receive money from this elite class? I’ve mentally written off the fees and I would consider as a bonus if I receive money from him. I’m thankful that I was not charged a fee for meeting him. Interesting personality!

We’ve been building our professions purely through referrals. In the initial years, even when clients were hard to come by, I was very clear that I would not make any cold calls and seek appointments. I’ve never made a single cold call till date. I’ve nothing against people making cold calls and acquire clients. It’s a perfectly legitimate way of marketing. It’s just that I wanted to follow referral model in building my profession.

I only make follow-up with my existing clients; that too only when they ask for or I feel the necessity in a given situation.

I’m not a courageous person by nature and can easily fall prey to fear and anxiety. So I some time wonder what gives me strength to hold on to my convictions both in personal and professional spheres.

Some time last year, a strong feeling entered into my thick skull. It is that everything in one’s life and in this world is pre-determined or happens according to the will of God. However despite meeting best of astrologers, one may not be able to know what is pre-determined. I think it would be always that way. Human mind or intelligence cannot conceive the workings of universe and the source behind it.

As we do not know and may never know what has been pre-determined, So I think I need to act what I consider appropriate in a given situation, at the same time keeping in the back of my mind what I do and the result of what I do is as per God’s will.

I’m not saying that my above thinking is the absolute truth. It may be a mere concept. Right or wrong, that is how I feel.

However this attitude is very helpful practically for a person like me with some negative personality traits like anxiety, easy irritability and at times being a short fuse.

This makes it relatively easier to handle ups and downs, which would always be there.

It is not that I don’t worry now. I do. But I don’t worry about my worry! I don’t compound my negative traits. They are there and I’m o.k. with it.

I enjoy working with my clients and I’m thankful to those who have chosen to work with us. I’m confident that people who see value in us would come to us and stay with us.

I deal with client’s money or situation as to how I would deal with my own or what I sincerely believe to be appropriate for the given situation. I think this is our core strength. I don’t know if this is my personality trait or the influence of Buffett or both.

I don’t want to say that I’m in this profession to help the society. I enjoy what I do and I’m thankful that I get paid for the same.

By end of this year, it would be 5 years since we’ve been in this profession. I was not from financial services industry and did not carry any existing relationships or database when I started on my own. Though I used to worry about future, still I was clear with the values with which I would run my profession.

I’m grateful to all of you who helped me survive and grow in this profession. This is a positive reinforcement that a referral model can also work well in this profession. Thanks to all those who had conviction to refer us to someone else.

We would never change our value system and compromise our approach.

The interesting thing I observe is that when one is ready to fail; even an anxious person like me gets confidence. Probably when one wants to be successful and is not ready to face failure; even a confident person can become very anxious!

Ten years ago, I never even imagined I would be doing what I’m doing now. I don’t know what I would be 10 years down the line. I’m no longer even bothered about it. All I can do is to trust life and take one step at a time.

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