Do immigrants really need financial planning? The question really is “Will they find the right kind of financial advisor?” So what do we mean by that? Financial planning is required for all people irrespective of the size of your financial assets. Most immigrants come to this country for a better life and better education for children. Thus, you are really looking for an expert who understands your value and respects your value-system. Someone who can help you navigate the financial maze of your adopted country. We believe that requires a specialist in immigrant financial planning.
Nandita’s immigrant financial planning story
I will give you an example from my own life. When my husband I decided to leave our home country in search of an uncertain future, we left behind two well-paid jobs. We also had the added responsibility of raising a baby in an unknown country. This is the story of so many immigrants that come to this country. I almost hear myself saying, “So, what is the big deal”? What came later was a big deal.
Some 25 years back I left behind all my ties in my home country India, at least that is what I thought. I can tell you from my experience that it is very difficult and probably not required to cut off the umbilical cord of your birth country. The reason for coming to this country was better education for myself and my daughter. While I was busy with my higher education and trying to make sure that my little one had a home away from home, I realized that adjusting to a new country was not easy. This despite having good grip over language. I still thought we were doing a pretty good job.
College planning before retirement planning?
When my daughter went to university, I knew I needed to plan a little more in advance. This was a rude awakening for me because despite my qualifications- PhD in Finance and a Chartered Financial Analyst designation. I soon realized how much I didn’t know about personal financial planning techniques. Here I was, with a dual-income family and one child and still facing a dilemma. How do I finance my daughter’s college education? We had no choice but to take a ParentPlus loan. Did I really have a choice? Some experts would say I did have a choice. You should not be funding your children’s college education at the cost of your own retirement savings. My values dictated that funding college was more important than my own retirement savings. The financial planners that I reached out to did not grasp that immigrant financial planning is different.
Even now when I teach personal finance to my students, we start by saying every client has one goal- Retirement. The question really is the priority of the goal. Many experts vouch for retirement being the Top priority. Doesn’t that really depend upon your value system?
I only wish I had someone who was a true Certified Financial Planner who could have understood where I come from and what values I care for. Two things happened here that is worth mentioning.
Financial advice or investment management?
I did not go looking for financial planning expert at the right time which was to a greater extent my fault. Because I did not go seeking financial advice, nobody would have known that I needed help. That said, I didn’t know that I needed to find a culturally competent, Certified Financial Planner to help me with my immigrant financial planning.
When I did decide to go looking for expert help, I soon realized that what the experts were recommending did not match my value system. Many of these experts wanted to know how much assets I had that they could manage (sounds familiar!). Translate that to an advisor’s perspective- “It was not worth their time to take me as a client”.
Of course, my antennas went up, as it was obviously the wrong question. Moreover, I was not interested in hiring the expert who for one asked me the wrong question, Secondly, he did not respect my value system. I since learned that people who can invest your money don’t have financial planning credentials such as Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor or Retirement Income Certified Professional.
As a result of my experience, I decided to go through the rigor to become a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional.
So, through blogs and videos, I intend to help/educate immigrant professionals navigate the financial maze of their adopted country.
Honoring your values through personalized immigrant financial planning
Envision helps immigrants experiencing money uncertainty pursue money freedom through smarter money moves. Moves that honor your values, goals and passions. Values such as education, family, social justice, climate change, etc. While not a complete list, we often help clients make smarter moves on planning to save on the cost of college, plan for a comfortable retirement, repaying student loans and growing wealth.
Good quality financial planning starts with better conversations about you and what’s important to you. That’s why we have a FREE no obligation phone meeting where we talk about your issues and concerns. I would love to have that conversation with you. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 570-947-3444.