Remember when you were a kid and you learned to ride a bike by using training wheels? Or when you first went bowling and they put out the bumpers for you? Or maybe you're helping your own kids and grandkids learn to bike and bowl with training wheels and bumpers. Here at Family Financial Partners, we believe training wheels and bumpers are important in your financial lives as well.
Now you're thinking....wait, what? Bear with me. It's the first week of 2018, if you can believe that, and I know lots of you had a great year in 2017. Many of our valued clients are retired and taking money out of their accounts and enjoying their post-professional lives. This is what we all worked hard for, right? Maybe last year, you took a little more out than usual, or more than we recommended, for one reason or another. And that's okay, because A, it was a good year in the markets, and B, we're keeping those bumpers out and the training wheels on.
One thing we talk about when our clients come into our conference room is that it's okay to spend money. It really is. For many of you, saving is ingrained and the idea spending can be downright scary. But remember, that's why you worked hard and saved, and that's why we created the financial plan for you that we did. We want you to enjoy life, after all. So, part of our job is determining how much you can spend and still stay upright, or avoid the dreaded gutter ball.
But, even (or maybe especially) when things have been smooth for a while and there's not a lot of financial stress weighing on you, it's important to look at your spending from the other side: just because you can buy something doesn't mean you should. And if you don't, those training wheels will be that much bigger, keeping you that much safer. Markets won't always be what they were last year (nothing will be, right?), so make sure you don't get over-confident and hurt the protections our team has put in place for you.
And as you're thinking about what you'd like to spend your money on this year, I encourage you to think about what truly matters to you. We had one client who, about 10 years ago, spent a large amount of money to take his entire family on a cruise. They made wonderful, lasting memories and got a lot of quality time together. Yes, he could have bought a bigger house or a nicer car, but he chose to spend that money on his family, and time with them. Today, his health has suffered and a cruise would be out of the question. But as he spends this time in the house that's paid off, he has those memories to treasure and wouldn't trade them for the world.
Of course if a new home or car is on your list, that's great - I'm simply saying to be discriminating when you choose where to spend your money. What's going to make life better for you and yours, today and years from now?
From all of us, we hope your 2018 is already off to a great start, and that this year will bring health, happiness and adventures your way. With the training wheels on - just in case.