You must collaborate with professionals for financial guidance and security

DIY approach can sometimes do more harm than good

Sibongile Mashaba Deputy News Editor
This DIY approach can sometimes do more harm than good. Just like in financial planning, we all need help.
This DIY approach can sometimes do more harm than good. Just like in financial planning, we all need help.
Image: 123RF

There’s an indescribable feeling that comes with doing it yourself. It makes you feel like you're in control.

You can surely get away with missing a spot while painting your living room. You can also get away with using fewer screws while tightening a cupboard.

But how often have you tried to fix something only for it to break shortly thereafter? Let’s face it, we all need help.

The management of our finances is no different, and Sanlam’s head of channel and segment marketing Lee Hancox says there’s is a growing phenomenon of superhero syndrome in personal finance.

“The superhero syndrome is becoming increasingly evident in today’s information-driven world, particularly in personal finance. Driven by self-reliance and perfectionism, more individuals are opting to manage their own finances, believing they can do everything themselves,” says Hancox.

Although this mindset can be empowering, says Hancox, “evolving financial complexities require even the most capable individuals to collaborate with professionals for financial guidance and advice”. 

“This DIY [do -it-yourself] approach to financial planning can sometimes do more harm than good — leading to several pitfalls. That’s why we want to empower South Africans with the support and expertise to make informed financial decisions.

“By embracing collaboration and professional advice, more South African heroes can achieve financial confidence and security, ensuring their financial future is as bright and stable as they envision,” says Hancox.

Lee Hancox
Lee Hancox

So, what is superhero syndrome and what impact does it have on our financial well-being? 

The allure of being a financial superhero is strong, with the idea of independently managing all aspects of one’s finances empowering. However, this mindset can result in emotional decision-making. Humans are emotional, which can lead to poor financial choices due to emotional bias.

“Limited knowledge and resources can also hinder the effective management of complex financial tasks. Additionally, taking on the full burden of financial management can lead to overwhelming stress and burnout, ultimately decreasing financial confidence.”

Hancox emphasises the importance of recognising your limitations.

“Managing a simple budget is very different from managing investment strategies, wealth protection, and wealth creation strategies.

“The latter requires taking a long, hard look realistically from a time, knowledge and resources perspective to determine your strengths and weaknesses. An individual’s past relationship with money can also influence this decision-making process.” 

Strategies for better financial management: 

Acknowledge your limitations: The first step to overcoming the superhero syndrome is acknowledging that one cannot do everything. Recognising personal limitations like time, knowledge, and resources is crucial. This self-awareness allows individuals to identify areas where they need assistance and to seek help proactively.

Embrace financial education: Financial literacy is powerful in combating superhero syndrome. Educating yourself about financial principles, investment options and economic trends can empower you to make informed decisions. That’s why we need to instil financial literacy in our kids at a young age and have those conversations with family members.  

Develop a collaborative financial plan: Financial planning is not something that should happen to somebody. It's something you should be involved in. Working closely with an adviser to develop and maintain a financial plan helps you meet your goals, account for potential blind spots, and build financial confidence. 

Talk about finances more: Sharing and being vulnerable about the frequently taboo topic of finances with trusted loved ones can be empowering. These courageous conversations can drive better financial decision-making, stronger relationships and improved mental well-being. Sanlam realises that encouraging South Africans to talk about finances more will help normalise these discussions, help individuals gain new perspectives, reduce financial stress and help people build a healthier relationship with money.

Build a support network: Creating a support network is essential. This network can include financial advisers, mentors and trusted friends or family members. Collaborating with these individuals can provide diverse perspectives and valuable insights, making financial management more comprehensive and less burdensome.  

Seek professional financial advice: Engaging with a financial adviser can be transformative. Financial advisers are experts in their field, with the knowledge and tools to provide tailored financial strategies. They offer an objective, unbiased perspective that can help mitigate emotional decision-making.  

Collaborating with an adviser to build financial confidence: Collaboration with financial professionals alleviates the burden of financial management but also builds financial confidence. This confidence allows individuals to focus on their personal and professional goals, contributing to overall well-being.

“Even as a certified financial planner, I know I'm too close to my finances. So, having an adviser gives me the confidence that I am doing the best for my family without any of my biases affecting decisions,” says Hancox.

“Even financial planners have financial planners. We know we need a sidekick to help us make impartial financial decisions about our future. Asking for help doesn't detract from your superhero status. It indicates self-awareness and the courage to say, ‘I need to put my trust in a different process besides mine so I can live with confidence’.”

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