Halloween is less than a week away, and if you've got young kids like I do, your house is probably well into the preparation of costumes, and all the excitement that comes with the prospect of free candy. Although Halloween costumes today aren't as scary as they used to be
, watching my kids get ready to dress up and scare away spooks has me thinking about some of the things that keep our clients up at night.
Financial fears are actually pretty common, and one of the things we talk about with many of our clients are their "sleep at night" numbers. In other words, what do you need to have going on in your financial life to allow you sleep peacefully, without fear or stress, each night?
The first financial fear that client families talk about is not having enough saved for a rainy day. These are the "what ifs" that run through your head as it hits the pillow. What if my kid breaks a bone? What if I lose my job? What if I'm in a car wreck and land in the hospital? What if my house gets struck by lightning and burns to the ground?
Okay, so a lightning strike is unlikely, but planning for the unlikely and unexpected is a huge part of what we do in this business. The most crucial step to alleviating this fear is building up a solid emergency fund. Our team makes a recommendation on the amount to shoot for based on income, lifestyle and other factors. While there are certain formulas touted on the internet - three or six months' worth of income, ten grand minimum no matter what - this is a sleep-at-night number we can help customize for you.
Many "what ifs" can be handled through proper insurance coverage. Many people only carry the bare minimum on auto insurance, but we usually recommend upping this protection, within your overall budget. Health, short-term disability, life and umbrella policies can also help ease those fears that rear their ugly heads in the dark. We are always happy to provide a review and recommendations for all of your insurance policies.
Maybe the most common fear we hear from our clients is that they'll run out of money in retirement. We can't guarantee you won't of course. But, the earlier you start working with a professional financial team, the more that team can do to help make sure you don't outlive your money. We can help you maximize your Social Security benefits, get the most out of your savings and find creative ways to build and protect assets. Each financial plan we create is customized to the individual client family's needs, and nothing happens in a vacuum. Each part of your financial life affects every other part of your financial life. It's our job to make sure they work together as efficiently as possible for years to come.
A third financial fear clients bring up in our conference room is, "what will happen to my money after I'm gone?" If you've inherited money that you want to make sure stays in the family, or if you're in a situation where running out of money isn't a worry for you, we can create a legacy plan tailored to your specific wishes. Whether you want your money to be gifted to charity or an organization, to make sure it gets into the hands of certain relatives (or stays out of the hands of certain people), there are ways our team can help make this happen for you.
On a more basic level, for younger clients just starting out or those who've tried to self-manage their money, we often see a simple fear of getting started. These folks feel like they're hiking through the woods in the dark, without a clue as to where they're going or what the obstacles are. For these clients, our team's job is to turn on a metaphorical flashlight and shine on light on all those scary financial stumbling blocks. When they're explained, they're usually not that scary after all.
As adults, we may not be afraid of monsters under the bed anymore, as our kiddos might be (especially this time of year). But that doesn't mean we never have trouble sleeping. If you're finding yourself lying awake at night worrying about money, give us a call. We'll keep a flashlight ready for you.