We've spent the first part of 2019 talking about the emotional realities of retiring and what to expect before and after you take that long-awaited plunge, along with the importance of finding your perfect match in a financial planning team. (Hint - we hope it's us!)
Today, I want to talk a little about the emotional side of why I got into this business in the first place. Now, you're thinking, "Dave, aren't you a numbers guy?" And the answer is yes. I am. I love the financial markets, and helping people work toward their financial goals, whatever they think their "magic number" might be. However, although it's true that I chose this profession and then chose to start my own company because I enjoy crunching numbers, I also chose this profession because I truly do love to help people.
If you're a current client, you'll remember that our initial meeting lasted between 90 minutes and two hours. Now, if all I wanted to do was look at your current finances, plug them into a few formulas and send you back out into the world, I wouldn't take up anywhere near that much of your time - or mine. But that first meeting is the beginning of getting to know who you are not only as a financial client, but as a whole person.
Some folks look at me strangely when I ask some seemingly invasive or unrelated questions during meetings, but let's back up for a minute. Almost everything we do in life involves money in some way. Right? Your health, your home, your children and grandchildren, your cars, where you like to vacation, how often you eat out and what brand of watch or shoes you like to sport. The simple truth is that what you choose to spend your money on says a lot about your values, and how you approach life in general. We're never prying or judging, I promise. We're just gathering information.
As an example, many clients don't think about coming to our team before they buy a home, but I will always, always encourage you to come in for a meeting before making any major purchase. No, I'm not a lender or mortgage broker, but I can help you see how a major purchase can affect the rest of your finances and goals - and whether you're making an emotional or rational decision.
Beyond putting your financial puzzle together so our team can see the whole picture, however, the emotional side of our business really shows itself after we've established trust. Whether it's a tragedy or a windfall, an unexpected raise or layoff, a struggling child who needs help or setting up a trust for a favorite charity, these life events are all emotional in some way - and all affect your finances in one way or another. We like to think of ourselves as financial therapists, and my team and I have spent many hours in our conference room listening to client families work through life's ups and downs and twists and turns. And it truly makes us feel good to do so.
Lots of folks get into the financial planning business because they are just numbers guys or gals, and that's fine. This industry is obviously about numbers. But if an advisor only looks at a client's investment portfolio and bottom line, makes a few tweaks and moves on to the next client, that advisor is missing out on what's truly special about this industry - and the client is missing out on the benefits of comprehensive, holistic financial planning.
If you're looking for something more from your financial planning team than you're currently getting, our door is always open. We'll provide a safe and confidential space for you and your family to talk about the emotional stuff that's going on in your life, and how you can best prepare for these types of events in the future. For our current clients, has life handed you a lemon lately? Or an incredible gift of some sort? Please, pick up the phone and tell us about it. We'll celebrate with you, or help you make some lemonade. That's what we do.