We have access to more information than any other generation at our fingertips, so why do we still see so many mistakes being made?
Knowledge is necessary, but it is nothing if not used.
One of the most rewarding parts of what a Financial Planner does is to not only partner with people like yourself or I in discovering the most important goals or values that they hold but to educate them on what is available to pursue these dreams custom tailored to what we have uncovered. For many, this is the first time that such discussions have pivoted from products (e.g. selling based on a brand-new financial portfolio, product or past performance without knowing one’s true goals/needs) and began focusing on who you are with what is most important that your savings can accomplish for you. During the discovery process it has always been of the upmost importance to bring transparency to what options you have to pursue what we have put down as your needs, wants and wishes financially – simply put, there is no reason for you to be in the dark about what your options are or how they work. These are the ways that as a financial planner I bring value to people just like yourself in the earlier stages of our relationship, by giving you the newly discovered knowledge of what your goals are in detailed terms rather than “blanket” goals such as ‘retirement’, ‘to not run out of money’, ‘to send my children to college’, ‘to make sure my spouse will be ok if something happens to me’. These are all admirable goals but they are so broad that they leave a lot of room for possible disappointment or misalignment down the road, so it will always be important to dig deeper so that we can clearly define where we are looking to get to, in what time, how we are to get there and why it is so important. It is not impossible to get here on your own but the extreme self-honesty and lack of a second perspective traditionally makes this seemingly simple task far harder than it appears on the surface and many clients have come to me after such self-discovery over the years. Also, if knowledge were everything you would walk out equipped to charge forward in the relentless pursuit of your dreams, but that cannot be accomplished without constant action.
Why is action so important?
Action is the catalyst from where your goals are born on paper into their materialization. Sounds like a profound statement but lets take it in a more simple scenario: you have a flat tire, just because you have the knowledge of how to fix that problem doesn’t make it happen alone: you must take the action to get out of the car, retrieve the tools/spare and execute on using your knowledge of how to safely and appropriately resolve the situation. The same applies to your financial well-being. Persistent review and ongoing action are what it takes to ensure that you are keeping on target for your goals with the best cost as well as time efficiency. Most important to note is that financial plans are not constants: tax laws, your goals, family or personal needs, emergencies or unforeseen circumstances are all things that will play parts in having to readjust or modify your approach along the way. Therefore, numerous studies have shown that individuals who work with a financial planner show a lower amount of stress, anxiety, and fear while having additional benefits to returns as compared to self-directed investors. Although the planner may not be managing the accounts or pitching regular investment changes like the brokers of days past, they are in many ways like a coach or trainer: they keep accountability and continue to partner in measuring progress towards the goals that are set. Without well-defined goals as well as an ally who knows you and your values keeping you accountable it can be a “hope and pray” approach that you hope you get where you want and pray you don’t make any mistakes along the way; hence one of my favorite quotes: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not like where you end up.”