If you've been reading my weekly thoughts for long enough, you're probably used to me telling you that you have to do everything right, and what mistakes to avoid. But I was thinking about this the other day, and I thought, but what if you're just a complete financial wreck? Before you laugh too much, let's unpack this for a minute.
When I look back on all the meetings we've had here in the office, and all of those clients who've come in for that initial meeting, the majority have done a pretty good job with their finances. I define that as having delayed some gratification in life in order to save toward future plans, even if you aren't sure exactly what those plans are. And that's a tough thing to do! How many of you save for a house you may never build? Or for a rainy day that might never come, or for an estate plan for future generations who don't exist yet?
For all of you who've already done some work before coming to us, there are also those of you who come in and need more than just a general tweak to your plan. Some of you do come to us with your financial lives a complete disaster. And I know some of you in that situation haven't come to our office because you think we'll judge you. That couldn't be farther from the truth.
If you're in need of counseling, as I have been a few times throughout my life, the counselor you call wouldn't tell you to go home because you don't have your act together. Right? You wouldn't think twice about calling that counselor, and it shouldn't be any different with your financial planning team. The reason the majority of financial planners (although I can't speak for all of us!) chose this profession is that we truly enjoy working with people and helping solve problems.
Now, do financial planners prefer working with people who have tons of money and have everything in order? Absolutely. But truth be told, we get just as much satisfaction (maybe even more) from working with clients who are trying to make the right decisions during tough times. It's a cool feeling when you help someone improve things for their family for years to come. You can sit back and say, "I had a hand in that!" It's gratifying.
By now you may be thinking, "Well dang it Dave, you just called me out, and I didn't realize that my financial faux pas and inadequacies were being fed to you via Alexa or Facebook." (Just kidding...maybe...) So I say to you, let's make tomorrow a better day! If you're thinking that, perhaps, some of this hit a little too close to home, let me remind you that one of the most important things humans can do is to forgive themselves.
We're not just talking about people who are broke either. Sometimes, like Notorious B.I.G. reminded us, more money means more problems. Or maybe you're the person who graduated from college a decade or so ago, bought a new house and a new car before paying off your student loans, and ran up a little credit card debt keeping up with the Joneses. We truly can create a plan to help you, wherever you are on this spectrum.
So, if you've hit a place in your life where you really do need some financial guidance, but you're a little embarrassed about the situation you're in, well, suck it up, buttercup. There's no day like today to forgive yourself for your past financial mistakes, and allow yourself to start working towards a brighter tomorrow. At Family Financial Partners, we believe that by facing your financial fears head-on and sitting down with a financial planner, you can recognize what got you into this situation, refocus on the end goal, and create a plan to work toward that goal. That's when the rubber hits the road, when we really earn our keep, and we can truly help you start working toward a better financial future.
There are also those of you, and we've seen many of your compatriots, who are facing retirement in two-to-ten years, and you're currently living a comfortable lifestyle, and you're under the illusion (or getting over it!) that retirement will be easy to figure out. What I see here is that some of your friends have retired, and you want to also, but you didn't save as much as they did. Or, perhaps you have dual incomes but your only pension is Social Security, which won't replace both of those incomes, or one of you decided to stay home with children and your budget is feeling squeezed. If any of the above describe you, there is hope, and there are things we can do, as long as you're willing to work with us and face these issues, claim them as your own, and then triumph over them.
But please, don't come in and tell us you're only here to appease your significant other. Don't walk through our doors until you're truly ready to work for a better tomorrow. Just saying you want it doesn't make it happen.
To close, I'll reiterate that there's no day like today to give yourself a pardon, and forgive yourself for your past financial mistakes. Acknowledging them is part of the path forward, and we can help you create a plan to make your future brighter. We're always happy to help.