In our line of work, we see certain things over and over again.
In a perfect world, where everyone knew exactly what they should do with their finances and made perfect financial decisions, there would be no need for you to use a financial planning team. The reality is, however, that we all live in an imperfect world, where all of you are very intelligent and highly skilled at something… other than financial planning.
As I close in on 20 years in this business, I have started keeping a list of things I continue to see over and over again that, for all practical purposes, have allowed me to continue to have a job. Not that I’m complaining of course – I love what I do.
But, there are times when I can’t help but feel that our time in the conference room might be better spent in other areas of your finances, if I could just get you not to fight us so hard on certain things. And those of you who know me know that I never back away from a good… discussion. So, in no particular order, here is the start of my financial planning wish list for our families.
First, I wish you’d automate your savings. Whether it’s your emergency fund, college savings, home remodel, or yes, retirement, we’d like you to automate this. We do understand that there are a few of you in careers where you don’t know exactly what your month-to-month income will be. This is the most common reason we hear for not automating. That said, the 80/20 rule does apply here – 80 percent of you do have paychecks that don’t change significantly from one pay period to the next. I also know that the number of you who actually automate is far less than 80 percent. Automatic saving makes every goal you have more attainable, simply by you being lazy and never changing it again. So start today.
Secondly, I wish more of you would let us know before you make financial decisions. We have a lot of you come in to ask our opinion about something you’ve already done, sometimes within just a few days. In a perfect world, I would love it if you’d sit on that decision for a day or two, and allow us to put some numbers to paper and show you how that decision affects your overall financial picture. I’m not asking you to change your mind. I’m simply asking you to take the time to educate yourself so you fully understand how your decision will affect you when it comes to your finances. This applies to job changes, business opportunities, and purchases of homes or large vehicles such as RVs, among other things. We’re just asking for a day or two here, folks. (Note: This does not apply to starting a family. There are certain things your financial team does not need or want to know in advance!)
Third, I wish every single one of my clients was properly insured. When it comes to home/auto/umbrella policies – and we don’t even sell these – I’d estimate that nine out of 10 folks we see are under-insured. While we understand that you want to save as much money as possible, liability coverage is not the place to do that – unless you’re prepared to write a really big check. Most of you aren’t. If you’d like to review your home and auto insurance, please let us know if you’d like a referral for someone who can review this with you, to make sure you’re covered, but also not paying too much.
Let’s also talk about disability insurance. We recommend this coverage simply because we want to protect your ability to get a paycheck should something happen to you (like that car wreck that you’re now adequately insured for). The reason for this is that your current lifestyle requires a paycheck to pay for itself. That lifestyle doesn’t care if you’re going to work or not, it just wants money from you. Let us help you come up with the right number to protect yourself. And never tell me that it won’t happen to you. That’s just bad karma.
Which brings me to life insurance. In the same vein as disability coverage, please, allow us to work with you and make sure you’re properly protected with life insurance. And by properly, I don’t just mean the amount. We’ll also create a plan for how that coverage will be used, and a timeline for that. We’ll also create a strategy for your loved ones should they need this insurance to provide for their lifestyle because you’re not around. And please, don’t tell me you don’t need it because you’re going to live forever. That’s really bad karma.
Finally, I wish all of you would buy long-term care insurance when the time comes. Nobody gets excited about the idea of needing round-the-clock medical care, whether in-home or at a facility. But the reality is that if you need it, I guarantee that you will regret not having gotten it, or at least attempting to get it. These medical expenses will come directly out of your hard-earned assets, and could result in you losing all or most of the funds you have earmarked for other things, like your spouse or your family. You might have been able to leave your spouse in a much better situation if you’d made this decision 15-30 years ago. If you’re already single, for a few dollars a day, you could be able to hold on to your assets to pass on to a sibling, nieces or nephews, instead of giving it all to medical costs.
I know for those of you who don’t qualify for this coverage, the decision has been made for us. But there are other planning strategies we can look at to try to prepare you for the eventual day when these costs will arise. Those who can get coverage, but won’t, well, despite me being anti government regulation, I wish there was a law that required your children and siblings to sign a waiver saying they’re okay with you forgoing this coverage. Even if it does crimp your lifestyle a bit to obtain coverage, it will crimp theirs significantly if you don’t.
On a personal note, I’ve now experienced this three times within my own extended family, and unfortunately probably have a few more coming. As the family member who is a planner, I can tell you, this is one of the top five things that keeps me awake as my head hits the pillow. It’s reality, it does happen, but so few people consider this type of coverage in their early 50s when they should.
And please – I do take it personally when you tell me you’ll die before you’ll use it. Statistics show that this isn’t likely to be the case, and I do care about and each and every one of you, our collective client families, and the lineage and legacy you leave behind.
1792 Alysheba Way,Suite 201,Lexington, KY 40509
Phone: 859.219.1006Fax: 859.219.1012
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*Representatives are licensed to offer insurance and annuity products in AL, AR, CO, FL, GA, IN, KY, MA, MD, MI, MO, MS, NC, NH, OH, PA, SC, TN, TX, WV, VA, and WA and are licensed to offer investment products in AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NH, NM, NV, NY, OH, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, WA, Washington DC and WV. This website and its content are not intended for residents of other states. Securities offered through: The O.N. Equity Sales Company, Member FINRA/SIPC, One Financial Way, Cincinnati, OH 45242. 513.794.6794 Investment Advisory Services offered through The O.N. Investment Management Company. Estate Planning Services provided in conjunction with your licensed legal advisor.