Last month, I wrote about all the reasons you might need an advisor. Well, in my experience it’s not enough just to realize we need help. We also have to get out of our own way and take action!
What I mean is that sometimes we set up roadblocks, or we talk ourselves out of planning before we even get started. Here are my top five reasons people don’t reach out to an advisor, and how I would encourage you to work through them:
- Fear: “I'll find out I can never retire or I made a huge mistake. They will tell me I can't pay for my kid’s college, or I have to cut back on my spending.” You may not hear exactly what you want to hear from an advisor, but once you know where you are you can take action to make it better. If you don't take action, it will only get worse. You can't hide from it; if you don’t act, you are actively deciding to let things go on the way they are. Is that OK with you?
- Shame: “I haven't saved enough, I spend too much on ‘unnecessary’ things, I should have done XYZ better or differently, or I started too late.” Please don’t let shame stop you. Stop judging yourself and take action. We financial professionals have seen it all; there is no reason to feel ashamed of coming to see us. I can promise you that there is NO judgment in this office.
- I've got it handled: “My planning is tickety-boo and I take care of all of this myself…I’ve been doing it for 35 years!” In May 2017, I reviewed some reasons why going it alone might not serve you...but if you already have a professional, third-party, comprehensive plan, then congratulations on your foresight! Most other people can benefit from a second opinion on the planning work they have already done for themselves.
- Low assets: “I don’t have any money to invest, so planning doesn’t apply to me.” I think this is partly a misconception about what true financial life planning is. It's not just investments; it covers every area of your financial life. And not every advisor requires a minimum amount of assets. You CAN find advisors who don’t (like me!). But you may also feel your case isn’t worth it, which just isn't true. You are worthy of professional advice, and you deserve it.
- I’m overwhelmed: “I'll get to it tomorrow, next month, or at the end of this year.” Financial life planning is important but not urgent...so it gets pushed to the bottom of the pile. The perfect time may never come, but you owe it to yourself and your family to get a plan in place before something tragic happens and it DOES become urgent. Do it now. Just start by scheduling an appointment to TALK about it.
You may have other concerns or reasons not to start your own financial life plan. If you do, please share them with me; I would appreciate a deeper understanding of this topic.
But whatever your concerns are, please don’t let anything stop you from understanding your entire financial picture and how it impacts your life as a whole. Shake off your doubts, take that grownup pill, and get it done. The sense of security of knowing is a lot better than the anxiety of the unknown.