According to a Wall Street Journal article, here are some of the many reasons why the financial planning process is vital for today’s consumer:
• Health care and education costs are
rising significantly faster than the general
• Many retirees today will live 25 or more
years in retirement, requiring far more
financial management of resources to
maintain a desired lifestyle.
• Social Security and company pensions
no longer provide the majority of retirement
funds for many people.
• Tax laws change almost annually.
• Downsizing companies no longer provide
cradle-to-grave benefits or job security.
• The average American changes jobs
seven times in a lifetime.
• According to CardWeb.com, the average
American household today has
$9,300 of credit card debt, up from
$5,800 a decade ago.
• The Center for Association Leadership
reported a survey in which 50% of respondents
said they rarely, if ever, use
a household budget to manage their
• There are myriad investment options
available, and not all of them are appropriate choices for you.
Given our very busy lives, is it very likely that a consumer will be able to evaluate all the options out there on their own without guidance?
How does a consumer know how to make a proper evaluation of the various options on issues?
Most consumers don’t have a plan but a hope. Yet hope, as important as it is on any difficult endeavor, is not a strategy.
Having a plan that starts with goals – an end in mind – will help focus one’s efforts and keep one on track even if detoured off course by the occasional pothole or market meltdown.
I want to encourage folks to open up and think about what they want their money to do for them. It’s not enough to simply say, “I want to be rich.” That is a relative term. Being rich means something completely different to someone on Rodeo Drive compared to someone living in a hut in the jungle.
Regardless of where one lives there is common agreement that people almost universally want to be free from want, hunger, disease. And all want to have a safe home for raising a family.
The trappings surrounding the success we call “being rich” are what may be different.
So how does one get there then? Wishing alone will not make it so.
So take it one step further. Be SMART about what you want – have goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and have a Time limit.
Having a plan is the first step. Next is staying on track to get between Point A and Point B. This is where the right coach can do wonders. If Tiger Woods can have a coach, shouldn’t you? A good coach can offer advice with an objective perspective, tell it like it is and be brutally honest.
It’s a complex world out there – whole life versus term insurance, over 10,000 mutual funds, multiple options for elfer care and medical treatment, tax laws that change constantly.
Are you really sure that you’re prepared to handle these details on your own? Do you really think that the Web or some talking head on TV is the best source of information for your specific needs?
Maybe it’s time to try something different and sit down with a real money coach, not just someone trying to sell you something.