Here’s the dilemma I observed, after being in the personal finance space for a while: financial planners in Malaysia want more clients. Everyday Malaysians want more guidance in their money management.
Why, then, do some of us choose not to seek out professional financial planners, and instead choosing DIY money management methods and getting our financial advice primarily from friends and family (who may be bad with financial management themselves)?
I’ll tell you why – distrust. Who are you to tell me what to do with MY money?
Or at least I’d say that, until I knew better.
Financial planner =/= wealth planner/life advisor etc
It’s totally not their fault, but network marketers (MLM and Ponzi), scammers, high-risk-high-reward opportunists and self-proclaimed financial gurus have totally bastardised the phrases ‘financial freedom’ and ‘financial independence’ until they now become red-flag phrases instead.
I have attended financial-themed events that turned out to be recruitment drives for forex platforms and property investment coaching, and now I am sceptical of anyone who claims to know what’s best for my financial life.
So here’s something you should know: real financial advice still exist, BUT you must know where to get them. Here are 3 ways to find actual and professional financial planners in Malaysia, who are all licensed and certified and certainly more competent in giving out financial advice than the group in the previous paragraph.
#1 – Through free consultation at InvestSmart’s #FinPlan4U event [ENDED; wait for 2022 event]
The first method is to let the universe pair you up with your fated financial planner (jk jk but not really).
Every year, Securities Commission Malaysia holds the public education event InvestSmart, which includes a collaboration with the Financial Planning Association of Malaysia (FPAM) and Malaysia Financial Planning Council (MFPC). The public can book a one-to-one financial planning consultation under the #FinPlan4U initiative, which is completely FREE.
I attended a session back in 2018 and had a good experience with my assigned financial planner, and I’d recommend you taking advantage of this initiative too – if you like your financial planner’s vibe, you can proceed to hire them, but if not you can continue your search, no worries.
#2 – From financial planner/content creator hybrids
Nowadays, there is more financial content in Malaysia than ever before, produced from konon-terer personal finance bloggers like myself to financial companies to financial planner/content creator hybrids (and more).
Financial planner/content creator hybrids are people who choose inbound marketing strategies to get clients, instead of outbound marketing.
(Simplistically, inbound marketing = clients chase you; outbound marketing = you chase clients.)
In Malaysia, some notable financial planner/content creator hybrids include:
- KC Lau (the OG)
- Pakdi (Malay language)
- Stev Yong of Wealth Vantage Advisory, who also runs top personal finance website MyPF.my
- Peter Yong of Mr Money TV
- Farah Adira (Twitter platform)
I’m sure there are more but these are the names I can think of atm. I admire them for creating free beneficial financial content and prioritising their audience. If some of those audience members turned to customers, that’s a win-win situation all around.
P/s – if you’re a (licensed) financial planner/content creator hybrid yourself, please comment and I’ll add you to the list.
#3 – Through SmartFinance.my platform
And finally, if options #1 and #2 doesn’t work for you, and you prefer to search for your own financial advisor, you totally can at SmartFinance.my, the platform to find and book financial planners. Financial Planning Association of Malaysia (FPAM) is behind SmartFinance.my, so its legit.
The cool thing is you can select financial planners based on location (if you want face-to-face consultation), language (English, Mandarin, Bahasa Malaysia, Cantonese, Hokkien, Tamil) and fees.
Even cooler is you can select your financial planner based on their specialisations, such as:
- Emergency Savings
- Estate Planning
- Comprehensive Plan
- Health Care Planning
- Financial Security
- Credit Protection
- Child Planning
- Retirement Planning
- Succession Planning
- Family Office
- Child Tertiary Education Planning
- General Accumulation
- Wealth & Investment Portfolio Management
- Islamic Financial Planning
- Cash Flow Management
- Wealth Protection
- Estate (Will, Trust and Power of Attorney) Planning and Implementation
Muslims will appreciate the Islamic Financial Planning selection. Do ask your financial planners about Hibah, Wasiat, Takaful and other Syariah-compliant financial products and services. The Hibah instrument, for example, can help you leave an inheritance to non-Muslim loved ones, and to female family members who may be financially abandoned by male relatives after your passing.
I said what I said.
Where do you get your financial advice from?
There’s nothing wrong with getting financial advice from friends, family and companies. But you must know ALL advice is biased. Someone who made money from property will tell you property investment is a good idea. Ditto stock market. Ditto digital assets. List goes on.
With financial planners, it may still be hard to get independent advice, but they are the best possible professional option. Being a licensed financial planner is NOT easy, they have to complete many modules before they can claim that title.
Any of you have hired a financial planner in Malaysia before? Why did you select them? How was your experience like? Share with us in the comments section 🙂
My open letter for financial planners
This section is for financial planners in Malaysia, whose attention I’ve captured with this article, hopefully. It’d be a missed opportunity if I don’t include this.
I respect your profession, I really do, but here’s the thing. I don’t know if you’re aware of this but some financial advice that you give out sounds (a) really condescending, and (b) victim-blaming.
For example, every time I hear some financial planner repeat the statistic, 52% of Malaysians ‘face difficulties raising even RM1,000 for emergencies’, what you say is we’re bad at saving money (and yes to be fair some of us are pretty bad at it), but what you ignore is the fact that many Malaysians are underpaid.
According to a BNM report…
“To illustrate this point, if a Malaysian worker produces output worth US$1,000, the worker will be paid US$340 for it.
The corresponding wage received by a worker in benchmark economies for producing the same output worth US$1,000 is, however, higher at US$510.80” – BNM report
Stop telling people they can budget their way out of poverty, when that is a near-impossible feat. Being poor is expensive.
Stop telling people who have not taken insurance or do wills that they don’t care about their families – it is hard for low-income earners to commit to long-term plans when they are still figuring out how to feed and shelter their families today.
Stop telling people to simply stop spending money, without acknowledging sales and marketing, which *is* a billion-dollar industry, is exceptionally good at what they do.
The funny/sad part is some of you give us all this advice, while you are comfortably living in the higher M40/T20 income bracket.
It’s not my place to tell you what to do, nor your responsibility, but here’s my plea anyway – where you can, please:
- lead by example and provide at least living wage to your employees, and
- fight for higher pay for low-paid colleagues, including the janitors and cleaners, and
- encourage your high-net-worth clients – the ones who have more money than they know what to do with – to give back. Tell them that’s how they can buy happiness with their money
Thank you for reading. I’ve poured what I kept inside for the longest time, now over to you. Thank you for your continued dedication to helping fellow Malaysians.