The 5 Things That Make Financial Planning Fun
Financial planning doesn't have to be painstaking
One of my least favorite, but necessary, things to do is go to the dentist. I will often delay setting up an appointment for weeks and sometimes months with easy-to-find excuses. As I write this, the thought of sharp utensils picking at my teeth, foam inserts shoved into my mouth and the buzzing sound of a polish makes me cringe. I often joke with my clients that coming to see me for a financial planning update is like me going to the dentist. It doesn’t have to be. Financial planning can be and should be fun.
Here are the five things that make financial planning fun.
- YOU GET TO TALK ABOUT YOUR DREAMS
Imagine a place where you can go to discuss your finances and dreams with a person who not only listens but understands your situation and has a plan to help you achieve your goals. Visualizing and talking about financial dreams is fun. Discussing the details of what you might do in retirement, how you will sell your business you worked so hard to build, or where your kids might go to college is both very rewarding and healthy. Discussing your finances with friends and family is taboo. However, chatting about the raise you just got, your bonus, how much your house is worth, how much you are saving or your net worth is not only acceptable, but beneficial and necessary with your advisor. Talking to a person who listens, understands and cares about you and your success is fun.
- YOU GET TO GROW WEALTH
Growing wealth is the reward for the culmination of hard work and strategic planning. Meeting with a trusted advisor to review net worth and investible assets and how those assets will be used in the future provides satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. A great advisor will take a holistic approach to make it easy for clients to view a complete picture of assets on a single screen or in a financial plan. Talking about and seeing your net worth grow is rewarding.
- YOU SLEEP WELL AT NIGHT
I go to a mechanic to get my oil changed. Sure, I could figure out how to do it myself, but I don’t have the time and I would worry about not doing it correctly and how that would impact the lifespan of my car. This is similar to completing taxes. I could review my tax returns myself, but each year I would wonder if I could have saved more money or if I made a mistake. Yet, in the complex world of investing and financial planning, Americans are willing to try to invest on their own and put their retirement and kids’ education on the line because they watched a TV infomercial that explained how to invest.
The stakes are simply too high.
When a financial plan is in place with a strategy that is monitored consistently, my clients sleep better at night. Nothing is better than a good night’s sleep.
- YOU HAVE A PERSONAL CFO
In the age of cable news, the internet, coworkers and Great Uncle Jimbo, where do you turn for financial advice? While a coworker is telling you the wonders of a Roth option in your 401(k), a pundit on the news is telling you pre-tax deductions make sense for most Americans When looking for a home equity line of credit, wouldn’t it be nice to get a referral to a vetted, trusted partner. Corporations have executives, lawyers and consultants to help navigate the rigors of the corporate world. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a personal Chief Financial Officer to contact when financial questions arise? A great financial planner acts as their clients’ personal CFO to provide answers to financial questions or bring in trusted partners to help with specific solutions. Telling a friend at a party that you have a personal CFO is fun.
- YOU GET TO WORK WITH AN ADVOCATE
It is hard to find true support in our lives. We fall back to family and friends for support, help making decisions, and during times of transition. Sheena Iyengar, professor and an expert of human choice said, “Life hands us a lot of hard choices, and other people can help us more than we might realize. We often think we should make important decisions using just our own internal resources. What are the pros and cons? What does my gut tell me? But often we have friends and family who know us in ways we don’t know ourselves.” Unfortunately, friends often don’t know your financial status or have the knowledge to help you navigate important money decisions. A great financial planner knows the psychology of a client and the financial situation of a client. A great advisor is a trusted advocate. Knowing you have an campaigner in your corner to make financial decisions is fun.
THE HARDEST STEP
When clients set up their initial appointment, they think they will meet a wealth management advisor dictating investing jargon followed by a hard sell at the end of the meeting. What they should find is a conversation with an expert who listens and provides value in the meeting without the need for a hard sell. Having someone listen, talking about dreams, finding a solution and taking steps towards achieving goals is fun.
Getting started is the hardest part.