How should an IFA measure his Life?

Amar Pandit , CFA , CFP

Amar Pandit

A respected entrepreneur with 25+ years of Experience, Amar Pandit is the Founder of several companies that are making a Happy difference in the lives of people. He is currently the Founder of Happyness Factory, a world-class online investment & goal-based financial planning platform through which he aims to help every Indian family save and invest wisely. He is very passionate about spreading financial literacy and is the author of 4 bestselling books (+ 2 more to release in 2020), 8 Sketch Books, Board Game and 700 + columns.

My favorite author and one of the most amazing thinkers on Innovation and Strategy, Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen passed away on January 23rd, 2020. He was just 67 but I am sure that besides his family and friends, he left his mark in the lives of his students, colleagues, readers and many others.

I have read all his books including the one that he is so famously known for “The Innovator’s Dilemma”. However, his real masterpiece is the book, “How will you measure your Life?” I have read it multiple times and have gifted this book to our clients as well. Each and every person has loved this gem. I instantly connected with the book as this is exactly how I have made choices in my life and built purposeful businesses that aim to make a happy difference in the lives of people.

Ask yourself this question “How will you measure your Life?”. Think and Reflect on this question for some time.

Prof.Christensen wrote in his HBR July –August 2010 column ( about the importance of Choosing the Right Metric.

Choose the Right Yardstick

This past year I was diagnosed with cancer and faced the possibility that my life would end sooner than I’d planned. Thankfully, it now looks as if I’ll be spared. But the experience has given me important insight into my life.

I have a pretty clear idea of how my ideas have generated enormous revenue for companies that have used my research; I know I’ve had a substantial impact. But as I’ve confronted this disease, it’s been interesting to see how unimportant that impact is to me now. I’ve concluded that the metric by which God will assess my life isn’t dollars but the individual people whose lives I’ve touched.

I think that’s the way it will work for us all. Don’t worry about the level of individual prominence you have achieved; worry about the individuals you have helped become better people. This is my final recommendation: Think about the metric by which your life will be judged and make a resolution to live every day so that in the end, your life will be judged a success.

Now let me ask you another question “How should an IFA measure his life?

Some answers could be based on:

  1. Size of the business – AUM, Revenue
  2. Returns Generated for clients
  3. Beating the Benchmarks or Beating Everyone.
  4. Being the smartest one in the Room

I am sure there will be some more but none of these capture the true spirit and meaning of the question.

Just like medicine, financial guidance/advise is also a life changing profession. You as an IFA are responsible for making a real and happy difference in the lives of people. With your guidance, people can achieve all their financial needs (home, children’s education, retirement), financial dreams and aspirations. The work that you do impacts lives at a very different level. You are not in the business of selling or distributing mutual funds. You are also not in the business of selling financial plans. You are in the business of impacting lives and helping people live their happiest financial lives.

I have seen elderly people sleep well at night because of our guidance and reassurance. I have seen families not having to face any financial hardships (despite losing a loved one – yes, the emotional loss cannot even be measured) because of the impact of our work. I have seen many people achieve their travel, education, home and many other goals because of our advice.

So, the real purpose of an IFA’s life is not to deliver a 15% return or not even beat the benchmark or to choose the best stock / fund or to choose as many products as possible or to show how intelligent we are.

Our real purpose is to make a happy difference in the lives of our clients which means helping them live their happiest life…

Your real purpose is to help your clients find their purpose because money is just a means to an end and mutual funds are just tools to that end (Just like a surgeon uses tools for his surgeries).The end is the most important part and if you can help your clients find their purpose (why are they  investing) and help them stick to their why, you would have earned not just their trust but their Share of Heart (SOH).

The true metric then to remember is “How many Lives have I made a happy Difference in?

P.S. I would strongly recommend that you read the book “How will you measure your Life?”