A short rant about cynicism and the distrust of professionals

I am not normally pessimistic, generally I do not like to write FEARful stuff as they are usually False Experience Appearing Real. However sometimes I do read something and get all worked up over it.

It’s no secret that financial professionals are generally distrusted. Bankers, Agents, CONsultants, Advisors, etc… these names have built up a distrust to it over time (but I can’t wake up tomorrow and call myself a Financial Engineer even though I have both Finance and Engineering qualifications, sigh.)

Whenever I approach someone to propose financial advisory, their first reaction is one of distrust. Are you trying to sell me something? I have managed my finances so far myself without professional advice, I’m fine, thank you. I get it, you know, Financial Advisory as a profession is quite young, not everyone is familiar with the benefits you get out of it yet, but doctors?

Yes, the story I read was about a doctor. A young doctor, idealistic, making his mark on the world, gave up half his life to study medicine and in exchange, got ridiculed for his sound advice and good intentions.

Yes, a doctor, one of the most trusted profession, is distrusted. Why was he distrusted? Just because he made a stand and did not prescribed medicine for symptoms and asked his patient to rest and let the body heal itself instead. Yes, people, a doctor with years of study, doing the right thing and based on scientific knowledge and evidence, did not prescribe to you the medicine you don’t need, have the guts to explain the reason to you, is being ridiculed by you. Just because you based your medicinal needs on some emotional feelings, somehow trumps a doctor’s scientific knowledge.

Similiarly, Financial Advisors get the distrust all the time. People used to do their own financials based on limited, highly emotional personal experience and equally limited, highly emotional experience from friends and family members. When pointed out that they have too many eggs in one basket, i.e. too much in property or too much in stocks, they will mention their bad experience with stocks/property so shall forever invest in only one of them. Emotions trump scientific and data-driven process when managing finances.

So to all good intention professionals, may you upgrade your skills and knowledge to always serve in your client’s best interest and to remain patient with the society at large and continue to educate them selflessly and passionately for there can be many really hard days where you feel really unappreciated, but rest assured that we will all give support to each other to continue to fight the good fight.


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