What is it that most financial advisors miss when working with clients? Is it health care costs? Is it choosing the right investment? Could it be the inheritance we had no idea about? What’s the one thing that advisors are overlooking? It’s You, the client! Let me explain.
It’s easy, as a financial advisor, to get hung up in the details of a financial plan. While trying to make sure we cover all the bases: budgeting, debt paydowns, retirement planning, insurance planning, education planning, tax planning, estate planning…the list goes on, sometimes we miss the forest through the trees. We overlook the most important detail in the whole plan, the person!
I’ve said it before and you’ll hear me say it time and time again, no two people are the same, so why would their financial plans look the same. It’s my belief that my job as your financial advisor isn’t to tell you what your life should look like and all the ways you are currently, NOT going to achieve it. Remember that commercial that asks, “what’s your number?”, then suggests their firm can help by telling you what it is? How about all those financial gurus that tell us everyone should have $2,000,000 saved to be able to retire? Or wait, is that $5,000,000? It sounds like a number they plucked out of thin air to scare you, hoping you’ll invest more money with them, doesn’t it?
What you need to be happy and fulfilled is probably drastically different than your neighbor, your friend, or even your family. It’s easy to look online and compare yourself to everyone else. Everyone does it. We even know it’s not real, but whether we like it or not, it gets to us all. On top of that, we are telling our younger generations they aren’t working hard enough and if they would just work longer hours, maybe someday they can be successful too. We are telling them they should be buying homes, getting married, and starting families. We tell everyone they are never going to be able to retire. Everywhere you look, we are constantly creating the recipe for anxiety, fear, and depression every day.
I believe my job is to help you find some clarity around your ideal lifestyle, what makes you happy, and work with you to build a plan to make that reality. It’s my job to help you think outside the box, put some blinders on to what everyone else is doing, and challenge you to live a life you really want. Yes, I’m here to uncover some of your shortfalls, blind-spots, and landmines that could hinder your progress, but I’m not here to make you fear the future. I’m not here to tell you that need to follow a predefined set plan that will lead everyone to success.
I’m of the opinion that we as advisors, need to stop trying to define what success is for everyone. We need to be listening, asking questions, and taking every opportunity to help empower people to define what success looks like to them. From there we can guide down the path to that success. Advisors can help make that happen for people, if they are willing to take a step back and focus on the missing piece.