Football fascinates me. It’s all the thinking that goes into a particular game, the strategy and the preparation. A coaching staff breaks down an opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and devises a game plan that accounts for its own team’s strengths and weaknesses. The plan gets coached to the players, who practice it over and over until everyone gets it right.
I considered it a compliment when one of my clients called me the Bill Belichick of his financial life. As an LPL Financial Planner I am a coach, a strategist who puts all the right parts into play. Just as a coaching staff adapts from week to week, changing its approach according to the challenges at hand, I do the same for my clients.
That often means finding a good place to put a client’s money, or streamlining a client’s tax situation so nothing is wasted. If there’s a need for a specialist, like an estate planning attorney, I get qualified professionals, and I demand the best from them. In this way I’m more like a coach who is also a general manager (but so is Belichick).
The client who called me the Bill Belichick of his financial life found that I could put in place everything he needed to feel good about his financial situation. As we’ve seen in the last 10 years with the New England Patriots, strategy, coaching, and discipline, can get the X’s and O’s working in your favor.
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How to Invest: Don’t Make a Mountain out of a Mole Hill
How do you invest the money you save?
In investing, we want a clear-headed, straightforward approach. Unfortunately, there’s so much information out there — and so much hype – it’s easy to lose your way.
But by asking the right questions at the right times you can make investing easier.
Here’s a question I ask my clients:
What level of risk do you feel comfortable with?
Is it smart to take that risk at this stage of your life?
Maybe it is. But the principled investor weighs the risk before acting.
Sometimes in families you’ll find contrasting attitudes and philosophies about investing, and that only reinforces for me that these matters are addressed. It’s a sad fact of our society that relationships get soured over money matters all the time.
That’s why a family needs an advisor who stands outside the argument — a financial professional who can remain detached from the emotion that can influence investment decisions. When my clients commit to the disciplined vision of a long-term approach, it’s my job to maintain that discipline.
So how do you invest your savings? With a clear head. Use a financial advisor who will help you put aside emotions and media hype. Someone who can help you make a decision that’s consistent with your financial plan, so you can move things along and live your life.
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There are people who walk into my life who have an energy I can feed off. People who carry an openness and an optimism that helps them enjoy their lives. I have clients like this. They want to do what is best for themselves and their family. They are not interested in shortcuts, and they don’t like cheating. They want to sleep well at night.
Over the years I’ve met other personalities. People who want to get back at their ex-wives and ex-husbands. People who fixate on sticking it to their enemies, real or perceived. People who want to figure out ways to cheat the government and get away with it. The energy these people are putting off is negative. It’s a poison.
This is where the ancient Indian religious concept of karma comes to mind. It’s the idea that our destiny is closely related to the energy we put into the universe.
Here’s a story I read recently that makes me think of good karma:
There’s a woman, a mother of three, who has been working as a vendor in the upper decks of QUALCOMM Stadium in San Diego for years. During one game she slipped and lost more than $1,000 in cash over the railing. All of those bills went drifting like tickertape over the lower deck. The fans down there couldn’t believe it.
The woman was out of luck, right? Except that the people in the upper deck stood up immediately and, pointing at the woman, they yelled, “It’s her money!” Within 10 minutes a security guard was handing all the money back to her.
Can you imagine the positive energy that gave all these people? I hope everyone slept well that night. In the upper decks and the lower decks both, they all deserved it.
Time marches on… What are you doing with your money?
I often speak about the importance of investing for the future and planning for your retirement. Some have taken my advice, and many have not. That might simply be because they may already be working with a financial advisor. But if they haven’t called simply out of indifference about their financial future… that worries me.
Weeks, months, or years may have passed since your last planning session.
I don’t want to be grim, but let’s face some facts. Time is passing whether you’re doing anything about it or not, and with each day retirement gets closer and closer. Many people go through their 30s and 40s without ever really giving serious thought to their investments or how they’ll live after they stop working. Maybe they’re reluctant to face their mortality, or they’re just too busy to stop and plan. But for some reason, they let things go until it’s almost too late. I don’t want that to happen to you. Someday, you’ll live on your savings and the income stream from your investments. That’s why I want to show you how to make the most of your current assets, even if you think you’re doing everything you can. Continue reading “Financial Planning – Time Marches On” »