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Different Means Yet One Objective: Just Do Financial Planning!

Korean Financial Planning Professional Sunho KimBy Sunho Kim, CFP 

“Imagine all the people living for today, Imagine all the people living life in peace, Imagine all the people sharing all the world,” sang John Lennon. To imagine this kind of world he asked us in his song “Imagine,” since the reality was not like that. If he had known about financial planning, I believe he would have asked us to do financial planning rather than to ‘imagine’ in his song — To borrow Nike’s famed catch phrase, “Just do financial planning!”

According to a survey of consumers conducted by the FPA in 2007, the value of financial planning felt by financial consumers was found to be “more peace of mind” (66%), “better control in finance” (63%), “expectation for a more comfortable retirement” (62%), “avoidance of wrong investment” (54%), “living on planned budgets” (47%), and “increase in saving” (46%). Another Australian survey by The Value of Advice, in 2008, found that the added values of 13 financial planning value-creating components included “avoidance of future cost,” “reduction of uncertainties in life style,” and “a new challenge for life.” From this data, we can see that financial planning indeed helps financial consumers live a more sound daily life with more peace of mind.

Professor Robert J. Shiller of Yale University, who had predicted the financial crisis triggered by the subprime mortgage, called for comprehensive financial advice programs for all people in order to prevent another financial crisis. He specifically suggested that financial planners get a refund for a portion of their fees with the financial planning advice fees included in the refundable tax credits or in the co-pay arrangements, just like the healthcare insurance. The recent trend in medical practice is emphasizing no less on the prevention of an illness by maintaining healthy living habits and getting regular medical check-ups than on curing a sickness. With finance likewise, a preemptive financial planning can help prevent potentially adverse elements beforehand. In a related context, the Inheritance Management, a component of financial planning, is one of many good examples of financial planning’s contributions to community-sharing. Beyond its contributions to an individual’s wealth accumulation, it does not just help with the passing of the wealth to family members, but with the foundation of a trusteeship or charity organization for the sake of public interest.

A Necessity for Society

Mr. Yoon Byung Cheol, Chairman of FPSB Korea, often says the following to financial planners: “Financial planning is a process that helps clients live the kind of lives they want, and this work is a necessity for the society. The financial planners are those who do this wonderful service. Those who do wonderful work for others are the leaders of the society. Financial planners should have a pride in themselves as a leader of the society and always have professionalism and ethics.”

Financial planning is a profession that creates a new world aspired by John Lennon, and financial planners are the leaders of the society as Chairman Yoon states. So, this writer is going to do the following two things in this new year of “Black Dragon.” I am going to write a book on financial planning for financial consumers which is easy to understand and implement and I am going to develop residency programs designed to help Korean financial planners who have passed the CFP exams conduct a good practice.

 While the first plan is for general financial consumers and the second for professional financial planners, the two are both aimed at the same objective — to help financial planning be known more widely to Korea. Each financial planner in Korea will have their own plans for the new year. The plans might be different in their realities and ideals, but they share the same objective to help more people live a better life with financial planning. To wit, all financial planners share the same heart in that they are all walking the leaders’ path to help make the world a better one.

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