Financial planning journey

Often, the people I have met be it men or women associate financial planning with buying financial products. Little did they know that financial planning is actually about building a personalised money strategies that not only work for you, but for your entire life ecosystem, family, career and to an extent – future generations and successions. The “buying” of financial products like investing, creating a wasiat or will writing, subscribing to insurance or takaful will only come in the second stage, once you have clarity on the strategies that you’re building.

Financial planning is about having clarity about who you are as a person and how money should serve and work towards your advantage, instead of the other way around.

My financial planning journey in 2023.

Even as a Licensed Islamic Financial Planner myself, I have had my highs and lows in curating my financial planning journey in 2023. I read somewhere, to reach mastery, one is to teach what one knows in the most simplest, humanly way possible. I have spent nights, if not days and months to find the most laymen way to deliver my experiences in financial literacy modules that cannot be copied elsewhere.

If I am on social media, I don’t stalk influencers. Rather, I use the time to learn from other gurus abroad from other niches and industries to mimic how they talk to their audience, and how they are able to deliver the most technical things in the best, simplest ways. It takes practice and it isn’t an overnight success. Sure, ChatGPT can help trainers like me to expand our limited skill set, but stage delivery, public speaking, critical thinking and empathy are assets that ChatGPT cannot mimic. My kids are my best crowd, if they can repeat and demonstrate what I was trying to deliver, I knew I was getting better at my speech.

Sometimes we have followers complimenting the hardwork that we have put out there for people to watch and see. Do you know how many times we’ve failed, how certain videos didn’t get published, how some videos needed to be redone because my team or I cannot feel what we were trying to deliver? You gotta be your first raving fan and if you’re not satisfied then likely others won’t either.

Through consistency not just in creating content, but putting ourselves back in the market as a student and constant learner, not mentioning the amount of funds we’ve reinvested back in our business and technology, happy to share we’ve progressed out of phase 1 (rookie, noob, whatchamacallit), now we are ecstatic to progress into phase 2 – building stronger presence, learning from better experts, having better clarity and most importantly, leveraging on the insights that we’ve successfully gathered from our one-year experience in hosting Women & Wealth Workshop as well as Women & Wealth Masterclass.

How does this relate to my financial journey in 2023?

Oh wow where do I even begin, let’s perhaps start off with not being able to spend my own money on my own desires because my business needed my money more? The endless visions and ideas that were gifted to us through Allah SWT meant I needed to be very intentional with each dime I receive.

Think about it. Would you spend 6-figures on a damn good investment opportunity that guarantees you NO RETURNS? Every investor I have met would need investment prospectus, factsheet, technical charts, data, to help them make informed decisions and finally decide to jump into the investment boat once they’ve calculated their risks.

What factsheets did I even have access to when we built our company? All I had was insights from all of the men and women I have met in my career as a Licensed Islamic Financial Planner. This alone was the only driving factor to empower me to hire the best talents out there that I could quickly tap on when I formed our training company, Aisya Rahman Advisory during the second MCO in 2021.

Banks called me all the time to remind me how my credit limit was going to burst and hit its ceiling. I kept on pumping my own savings to ensure our executions could take flight. Marketing and advertising spend weren’t getting any cheaper, cost to acquire per new customer kept on reaching new highs, when my bank balances were going the opposite way. I mean really, would you go all in into something, when there are no promises on your initial capital of investment?

Financial planning is NOT linear and NOT one-size-fits-all

Connecting the dots from 1 January 2023 til today, just few days away til the calendar flips itself to a brand new year, I am grateful for the courage, clarity, consistency granted to my entire team and I.

I must not lie, there were many times I compared myself to other male financial influencers or gurus, who had hundreds and thousands more followers and influence in this space. If I had continued to allow my inner child to feel so small, then this flight I am on would never take off. It is perfectly normal to feel small, to feel like we don’t have it all yet, that we must have more money to start. That isn’t necessarily true, start where you are, with what you have.

Whether in business or in your own financial planning journey, the gift is already in you. Money is just a tool for you to monetise in order to materialise your dreams and goals.

My latest achievement that I managed to strike out from my financial plan is to sell off my real estate at a loss. If I look at RM value, I lost a lot. But if I look at the potential opportunities that I could garner from this cut loss exercise, it meant I have an additional RM 2,500 per month to do whatever the heck I want. Will I revisit real estate? Not now, but you never know what the future holds.

Don’t beat yourself up over money mistakes

The only way to be great in what you do is to make mistakes and more of it. Next, learn from it, don’t repeat it again, and improvise your stand. In my case, I compiled all my financial mistakes (note: will still make more mistakes) in our financial literacy modules which I pray someday can cross the ocean and skies to other countries.. locating one Muslim men and women, one step, one day at a time.

Your mistakes are your greatest gifts

I am glad I jumped on my gut feel, honoured each of my mistakes, be it personal or professional mistakes.. because it led us here:

So many more beautiful pictures to share but I’m already off for the year!

Allow yourself to grieve

One thing I learnt this year was the lack of kindness from myself to myself. I pinned myself to some of the setbacks that weren’t in my control. I also blamed myself for the missed birthdays, meaningful events because I had to work. The outflow of savings were immense, which disabled me from getting what I want. I overlooked the importance of allowing myself to feel sad and grieve right. Grief is such a big topic for me this year, especially after losing so many young, kind souls around me. Sometimes when we push back our sorrows, it has a strange way to present itself back to us, in the most unpopular way. So make time for your grief, because it is the only way to heal.

Last but not least, don’t forget to play

It’s easy to feel sorry for ourselves but what’s more empowering is forgiveness. I know women like you and I, we work hard, we dress our best, but these are all the external. Don’t forget to invest in your inner self, honour your inner child, be your own safe space. Don’t forget to play. I found my inner strength while riding this beast. Be your best, this 2024. It’s never too late to start.

I hope to meet you at our upcoming Women & Wealth Masterclass happening on 6 January at our new beautiful office in Kota Damansara. Tickets here.

Happy new year, may Allah bless us here to the hereafter for all that we do for Him behind closed doors, in front of a crowd, when we are on our own, the trade offs we did for our family and more.

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