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Help Me Help You

Never keep secrets from your financial team.

In speaking with many of you recently, you’ve been telling me, “Hey Dave, it’s summer. I don’t have time to read your thoughts every week.” That’s cool, I understand. For those of you feeling pressed for time, click here for the executive summary of this week’s Thought from Dave. 

Now, for the rest of you: It’s been said that there are two people you should never lie to: your doctor and your lawyer. We’re going to add a third person to that list – your financial planning team. 

When it comes to money and your financial life, we know for many of you, this can feel like a very personal and somewhat invasive conversation. Just as your doctor will ask personal questions about your health and personal habits, and your lawyer will need to know about any skeletons in your closet, a good financial advisor will need to inquire about all aspects of your finances – the good and the bad. Having a clear picture of what’s happening in your financial life allows us to create a plan that addresses your specific needs. 

Now, I’m not Catholic, but I’ve watched enough “The Sopranos” to know that financial planning is also similar to confession – it consists of reflecting upon the past and working toward the future. For all of our clients and for those of you thinking about becoming clients, there will be times when we have to ask you to fill us in on the past. We may ask you why you made certain past decisions, not so we can judge you or pry, but so we can better understand how your mind works. Everyone has different ways of coming to decisions.

In addition, understanding the “how” helps us understand what caused you to make this past choice, and what events may have been going on in your life at the time that created a change in direction. And while you may be thinking, “Hey Dave, that’s kind of personal,” I’ve got news for you – financial planning is personal – just like your health. In a perfect world, your financial planner should be your confidant, just as a good physician or attorney should be. 

Sharing your thoughts, fears, or any questions you may think are silly or need clarification on is never a waste of our time. This allows us to get to know you better. It also enables me to give you more personalized advice than other “professionals” in your life. 

Keep in mind that I’m not your golf pro, and I’m not a general contractor who can put a new roof on your house. I’m not the guy you call to get rid of the rabid raccoon in your crawlspace. I’m the guy you have to be brutally honest with about your financial and personal life, so that when you ask for it, I can give you that second opinion about the decisions you’re making in your current situation. It’s vitally important for you to have a financial professional for you to bounce your ideas off. 

When change does occur in your life, please let your team at Family Financial Partners know. Allow us to be a part of your life so we can help you the best way we know how – as Jerry Maguire said, help me help you. Or, as my dad would say, good news or bad news, I want to be the first to know. 

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