Describing the depth and foundation of financial planning

I love architecture and interior design. It’s one of my most-watched genres on Netflix. In fact, I often position myself as a financial architect because I help young families design and build their financial foundations. Those words are purposefully chosen to describe a process and journey.

Whenever a client decides to work with me, we build their dreams together, making sure they come to fruition. It is not a hit-and-run process but a long, ongoing relationship.

To lay the foundation, I frequently use the following scenario with my clients:

Building a strong financial house

When you build a house, the most essential stage — and one that takes the most time — is laying the foundation. In fact, my wife and I are currently engaged with an architect to build our forever home.

Part of the process includes testing the soil to find out how deep solid bedrock goes, how many support pillars we need, how far apart the beams can be, how much concrete we should pour to ensure its solidness and so forth.

There are no shortcuts and no way to rush this step.

The depth of foundations

In real life, no two foundations are the same. The depth of foundation pillars will depend solely on what you are building. If you’re building a one-story ranch house, then it doesn’t need to be too deep. The foundation will be significantly different, though, if you’re building a four-level mansion or a skyscraper.

The taller the building, the deeper the foundation. If not, it could be catastrophic when it’s hit by natural disasters.

The foundation of financial planning

The same is true about your financial goals. Some of your goals might be as simple as making sure your mortgage is taken care of. Some might have plans to provide an Ivy League education for your child. A few might be looking to secure a very comfortable retirement on a remote island.

All these goals require different types of foundations. This dictates what kind of financial instruments are most suitable and how much coverage is necessary to secure them. I explain this to my clients this way:  

“Surely, you can’t have a skyscraper-tall financial goal only to be fitted with a two-story house’s foundation, right? It would be downright ridiculous, don’t you agree?

“You see, your job is to dream and build up as high as your heart desires. My job as a financial advisor is to make sure you have enough financial foundation depth to sustain it. Together, we can plan and build the house of your dreams.

“So, how deep is your foundation?”

Johan Fanggara is a six-year MDRT member from Jakarta Utara, Indonesia

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