This is one of the walls in the reception area of my office. You can see I like to hang lots of little items there. The items were picked with some care, they are meant to convey to clients and prospective clients a sense of who I am and what I believe in. They are also there to remind me of what I aspire to. If you came to my office you would find that none of the items on the wall relate directly to money or wealth in the traditional way you might expect at an investment advisor’s office (though there are other places where you could find some of that).
The items on the wall are there to remind me that money is just something that allows us to live fuller lives. It is not a goal in and of itself. One of the plaques reads “Enjoy the little things in life because one day you will look back and realize they were the big things”. That is a reminder that everyday I have the chance to enjoy something. It may not be a big new shiny thing, but that is not important, what is important is for me to be mindful and grateful for all that comes my way.
One of the cards reads “You are what you eat…I need to eat a skinny person” That is there to remind me to have a sense of humor and to laugh once in a while. Life is meant to be fun.
Another reads “Success is getting what you want, happiness is wanting what you get” That’s a reminder that I am as wealthy as I allow myself to be, by being happy with what I have.
Maybe you have a wall of your own. Maybe it exists only in your head. What do you hang on your wall?
New Year’s Resolutions
It’s that time again. The time when we make resolutions for the New Year. Resolutions are things we want to change. I resolve to…
Resolutions are your goals for the coming year. Write them down on paper – in ink. Committing goals to paper makes them more concrete than goals we merely hold in our head. And don’t stop with just writing them down, stuff that piece of paper in your wallet or purse. Tape it to the visor in your car. Put them somewhere so you will see them on a regular basis.
When you see your goals think of one thing you can do that day that will bring you closer to reaching that goal, and do it. Do something, do anything…everyday.
The Financial Olympian
As the Summer Olympics in Rio kicked offed this past weekend, it is time again for us to marvel at the prowess of the best athletes in the world. They deserve all the awe we can muster, training that hard for that long- many of them all their lives- to finally compete for their respective countries in front of millions and millions across the globe. The process is truly amazing, and the reward of just competing on that big a stage is just as memorable.
Whether you’re a veterinarian, bus driver, CPA or welder- everyone can be their own champion when it comes to their finances. If you practice determination, discipline and hard work in your financial planning you too can achieve a level of awe in yourself.
The level of achievement will be different for each circumstance, but the feeling of being in control of your retirement planning, college savings for your children, investments or debt management, can be just as remarkable as the Olympians we’ll be watching over the next month.
So challenge yourself to start, or continue, a healthy routine with your finances. This may require speaking with a financial advisor, reviewing your current financial plan, or simply saving an extra $10 each week. However, with enough tenacity and hard work, you too can bask in the glory that is being financially comfortable and prepared for the many obstacles everyday life will throw your way.
Mid Year Resolutions
Being that it’s June, it’s time to check up on your financial New Year’s resolutions. Have you stuck to your financial plan? Have you achieved more saving or paid down debt? Have you given up completely on your personal goals only to fall back into old habits?
Did you even remember that you set any goals?
No matter how you answered those previous questions, it’s never too late to reengage and refocus on the end game. Whether that’s saving for a down payment on a home, increasing your retirement assets or finally meeting with a professional to talk about these things- it’s as good a time as any to accomplish these goals.
Just as many of us have fallen off the workout schedule or reverted back to the habits we were trying to end or alter at the beginning of 2016, it is easy to forget and abandon our financial goals as we go about our everyday lives.
Now’s the time to refocus and rededicate ourselves to the financial habits that we know we should be practicing, but sometimes forget or find any excuse not to do.
The First Step to Become a Millionaire
This is a real phone call.
Caller: Can you help develop residual income? Make the right investments etc.?
Me: Sure, but first you need to develop a plan so we will know what steps to take to reach your long term financial goals.
Caller: Well, I wasn’t sure if I have enough money to work with your firm.
Me: Well if you look at our web site, you’ll see we offer a Fiscal Checkup™ to get you started in the right direction at a minimal cost. We want to help you grow into a very good client.
Caller: I’m not sure. What kinds of investments can I make?
Me: Look, investments are neither good nor bad. What matters is that they help you reach your long term goals. You need to know where you’re going before we can talk about investments. How old are you?
Caller: I’m 33.
Me: I guess you have a job?
Caller: Yes, I work at xxxxx
Me: Do you have a 401k?
Me: Have you maxed out your contributions to your 401k plan?
Me: Well at least you are contributing enough to get all the matching funds, right?
Me: Well that’s someplace to start.
Caller: Look I know I should be contributing more to my 401k to capture that free money.
Me: And yet you are not doing it.
Me: You have a wife and two kids. Do you have life insurance?
Caller: Yeah, I get all that through work.
Me: Do you know if it’s enough?
Caller: I have $300,000 of protection.
Me: Well that will replace about $15,000 of income. Do you make more than $15,000 a year?
Caller: Oh yes! I got enough to pay off the mortgage.
Me: Wow, two kids, college, that is not enough. How about your 401k plan? How did you choose those investments?
Caller: Just a guess.
Me: You know college is expensive. How do you plan to pay for that?
Caller: I guess I’ll just have to tell the kids they are on their own there.
Okay, you should be able to see where this is going. Most of the people I work with do not have a plan when they begin working with me. They call thinking this is about investments. It is not! It is about achieving the important financial goals in your life. It is about identifying your needs, prioritizing those needs, and developing a strategy to meet those needs. Investing comes in at the very end.
Many younger people need financial coaching to help them pay off debts, develop a budget, learn to save, understand their employee benefits, and protect their family. They really don’t need “investments”.
If you see yourself here, I encourage you to seek help. Sure there are financial firms that don’t care about planning and will be happy to sell you an investment and there are firms that have high minimums to open an account, but there are also firms that believe in growing their own great clients who will be happy to help you get started the right way. Find one that will help you!
It’s that time of year when we all take stock of our lives and come up with a list of resolutions to make ourselves better for the coming new year. On the financial side of things may I offer a few suggestions.