We all want fewer money problems and more financial security. Even better, we all want financial freedom.
But how do we begin making it happen? Financial advice is as common and trendy as diet advice. How can the average person figure it out?
The good news is that you don’t have to figure it out on your own. Building a financial support team is the first step towards peace of mind.
Why do you need a financial support team?
When asked if they expected to have enough money saved for retirement, eight out of ten Americans between the ages of 30 and 54 said no. Their fears are based on reality. Let’s start with a few sobering statistics:
- Percentage of Americans with nothing saved for retirement: 45 percent
- The amount that a 65-year-old couple can expect to pay in healthcare throughout retirement: $245,000
- The rate of employers currently offering healthcare coverage to retirees: 1 in 6
- Percentage of Americans without even $500 set aside for emergencies: 41 percent
It should be clear that we, as a nation, are not in good financial shape. There are many reasons for that. In some cases, saving isn’t even an option. In other cases, the culprit is a lack of economic know-how.
There’s no shame in asking for financial help. For example, no one expects you to be able to fix your own plumbing, right? You can’t know everything! Or you might have a personal trainer. Why? Because you chose to hire an expert instead of winging trying to get in shape yourself.
What a financial support team might look like
- Accountant and/or Tax Preparer
- Financial Advisor
The first two team members on that list have an obvious role. Finding a lawyer, however, is a bit more complicated. Lawyers, like doctors, are specialists. Therefore, the specific situations in your life will probably shape your choice of lawyer. Quite often, other players on your financial support team will be able to recommend the right lawyer for you.
How to find a financial advisor
Since anyone can call him/herself a financial advisor, you want to approach this choice carefully. Seek out specific degrees and certifications. Be ready with a list of direct questions. For example:
- What services do you offer?
- What will I be charged and when?
- What’s your style and approach towards managing money?
- Are you available to handle questions and how often will we speak?
What if you really want to handle your own finances?
You might feel you don’t need help. You may even see yourself as traveling a safe path when it comes to your financial future. But it’s wise to deeply examine your relationship with money.
Here’s another statistic to remember: 75 percent of Americans consider money to be the top source of stress in their lives.
Money problems are real and they are common. They are also bad news for your financial and emotional health. Consider a couple of pointed questions, for example.
Are you an underearner?
Also known as a “money avoidance disorder,” this scenario involves underspending and avoiding risk. It may also involve avoiding any focus on money at all! Some people feel a deep sense of guilt around earning.
Do you worship or overspend money?
From impulsive spending to compulsive gambling and beyond, people seek the “thrill” of spending. This quest can rapidly evolve into a form of addiction.
The fact is there’s much more to your finances than bookkeeping. For both of those reasons and more, you have one other important member to consider for your financial support team. A major player on that team just may be your therapist. Please contact me if you need help clearing the emotional and mental obstacles that can cause money problems and impact your future.