All too often, stock market investors get fixated on short-term investment returns. It’s a normal thing to do. This is especially true in the world of the 24-hour news cycle where the media needs to grab your constant attention—often using the moment-to-moment activity in the markets or specific stocks to do just that. Unfortunately, focusing on the ups and downs on Wall Street and daily value of your portfolio can result in you missing out on a much more important goal: achieving a better return on life.
Put simply, money isn’t everything. Yet, as Jonathan Clements says, Money really can buy happiness! That’s why, as your financial advisor, my job goes beyond managing your investment portfolio. Of course, your portfolio is a vital part of your overall strategy. But it’s important to remember that short-term fluctuations in the market have less much impact than you probably think on your overall financial health. Even extreme dips are unlikely to change when and how you retire, or whether you’re able to achieve financial freedom. The truth is (and the research shows) that your ability to achieve a better return on life—to be less stressed, to live the way you want to live, and to be happier while doing it—is about so much more.
Years ago, I read a great article by Mitch Anthony, one of the pioneers in the field of financial life planning, called 6 Key Value Propositions A Good Financial Planner Can Provide For Clients Seeking A Better “Return On Life”. It has stuck with me ever since. As I plan for our fourth-quarter client reviews, this is an excellent reminder about how to deliver value. I love how each bullet highlights what I do for you as a client, and how our work together can help you live your ideal life—however you define it. Here is his list and why each item matters in our work together:
- Organization. I help bring order to your financial life. That includes ensuring you are invested wisely and that your assets are allocated appropriately. But it also includes things like recommending suitable insurance coverage, ‘quarterbacking’ the estate planning process, and planning to ensure tax diversification and optimization. At the most micro level, I help manage household cash flow, including creating a reasonable budget and a savings strategy to be sure the things that are most important to you are covered.
- Accountability. I help you follow through on financial commitments. Are you paying yourself first to build your freedom fund? Are you making your long-term goals a priority? Are you making progress towards your goals and consistently increasing your net worth? As your trusted financial partner, we provide great tools to help you stay accountable, and I am here to keep you from getting distracted (by, say, the stock market!) and to continue making decisions that support your total financial life.
- Objectivity. I’ve been told that one of my superpowers is that I’m a great listener. That means that even when it seems like we’re just chitchatting, I’m taking it all in to add to my knowledge in my service to you. By listening, I’m able to help guide you when you face key financial decisions and to help you avoid making emotionally driven decisions. I’m here to hold up a mirror so you can view things from a new perspective and see the ‘why’ behind every small decision. In the end, it is those small decisions that enable you to reap the greatest rewards.
- Proactivity. With your big picture in mind, I help you to anticipate and financially prepare for life’s major transitions. Whether your priority is freedom from work, becoming financially independent after a divorce, regaining your financial footing after losing a spouse, or working through other challenges when ‘life happens,’ my job is to understand your needs and create and implement a proactive strategy to get you where you want to be—so you don’t have to react to the circumstances around you.
- Education. I do what I can to offer information, insights, and strategies to address your challenges and make the most of your opportunities. I strive to explain the options and risks associated with each choice and help guide you toward decisions that are aligned with your goals. I remind you that there will always be tradeoffs… that you can do anything you want, but not everything! In my blog, I write about important topics like what the CARES Act means to you, how new scoring models will impact your credit score (and why it matters!), the power of Roth IRA conversions, and much, much more to help you, your next generation, and anyone else who reads my words make the best possible financial decisions.
- Partnership. I am a true believer in the power of partnership—the gestalt that makes the whole greater than its parts. I see my relationship with each client as more than a contract. For me, it’s a covenant—a deeply held promise to protect you, your assets, and your loved ones using the power of a carefully crafted and well-executed financial plan. I take the time to get to know you, to understand your needs and goals, and to learn what makes you ‘tick’ in order to help foster time, money, and relationships so you can live a truly great life.
As I always say, whatever your financial needs, ‘we are here to help.’ That means that it is my promise to you to deliver each of these six value propositions. That means that when you need a guiding hand, a voice of reason, or simply a shoulder to cry on, I am here for you. Email me. Call me. Text me. Together, we will work to address your challenges and uncover new opportunities—and stay focused on the things that can really help you achieve a better return on life.