There may be plenty of factors outside of your control that impact your financial situation, such as the markets, the economy as a whole, or an unexpected illness. But those circumstances may not play as critical of a role in your financial life as you might think. The real dangers to your financial future are the lies you tell yourself when it comes to financial planning. Here are some ways you could be undermining your financial success and some ideas on how to change course.
Lie #1: I Don't Need Help. I Know What I'm Doing
Let’s say you read a plethora of financial planning books, stay up-to-date on the markets, and know all about budgeting software. That may put you ahead of a lot of other people, but there are certain aspects of financial planning that often go ignored even by the most knowledgeable people. Let’s look at a couple of hypothetical examples.
How Often Do You Review?
How often do you refresh your goals, adjust your plan, and determine how and when to make changes? A financial planner does more than just monitor your portfolio. They act as your coach, motivating and guiding you when things get tough. They bring an objective perspective to the table and develop a customized strategy based on your financial priorities. The end result is increased confidence in your financial strategies and decision-making. You don’t want to suffer a financial setback just because you were too busy or too forgetful to keep up with your financial plan.
In Case of Emergency
What if the unthinkable were to happen and you couldn’t make financial decisions? Will your family be able to handle the details and figure out your financial plan? An advisor can offer a holistic overview of your net worth and determine what elements need to be in place to protect your family and your wealth. These are often things you may not be aware of, such as life insurance or a living trust.
Investing is tricky business on a good day. Can you manage the emotions, anxiety, and possible second-guessing of your investment choices if you were living on a fixed income and the market were to face a correction? An advisor has tools to evaluate cash flow to help you determine the probability of your money lasting through your retirement years. They can also keep you accountable and committed to your long-term strategy in the midst of market ups and downs.
Lie #2: I Can Always Get Help When I Need It
If you were going on vacation, would you rather have everything packed ahead of time and enjoy your restful break? Or would you prefer to be disorganized and arrive without essential items, forced to then spend your time off running around shopping for things you forgot? When it comes to money, it’s the same idea. When you really need the help, you may have lost your most valuable resource - time. Instead of thoughtfully researching your options and making decisions with a clear head, waiting until you need help will result in a frantic scramble to just get things done.
Lie #3: I Don't Need An Advisor, I Have Financial Technology
Financial planning has evolved. Years ago, it was about who had the most up to date information on a company to buy a stock, and the planning industry was mostly concerned with buying and selling stocks and bonds rather than portfolio management. Today, financial planning is more about what’s missing in your overall strategy, what have you not thought of, and what could you be doing that you’re not. On top of that, the financial planning process helps you emotionally connect with your goals so you can get on the right track. Technology, at the present time, can’t do that.
Technology has many good points, but several drawbacks as well. For example, you can find more information than you’ll ever need, but you’ll also come across plenty of misinformation which could lead you astray. It’s not uncommon for someone to research something on the Internet and find just as many pros as there are cons. If you want to save for your child’s college education, you’ll find articles touting the value of using a 529, a Roth IRA, or a Roth 401(k). How do you figure out which one is truly right for you? The abundance of information has created so much noise that in many cases, people don’t do anything at all.
While technology should be used in financial planning, it should not replace the role of an advisor. The importance of what advisors do from a human aspect is help clients sift through the noise and misinformation and encourage them to move forward in taking action.
A Change In Perspective?