The idea of talking with a financial advisor makes many people feel the same way they feel about a trip to the dentist: not thrilled. After all, financial planning requires that we think through and talk about how to deal with scary or unpleasant circumstances.
But good financial planning isn’t just about downside protection. It’s also about planning so people can do the exciting and meaningful things that make life wonderful.
As a fiduciary, I have a responsibility to help my clients understand, monitor and protect against financial downside in their lives. Some of the things I might address with clients include:
We talk about issues like this before we start discussing estate planning considerations, which are pretty much all related to death and taxes. It’s no wonder that people dread these conversations.
Helping people achieve their goals
But financial planning is really about ensuring that people have the financial resources to achieve their goals. In my view, this is an inherently optimistic process. As a planner, I’m here to help clients reach their goals, whatever they may be. We spend lots of time talking about hopes, dreams and values.
Just as it is my duty to address the downside potential in my clients’ lives, my objective is to help my clients achieve the upside in life, too. With proper financial planning, I have seen people do incredible things. Clients frequently:
Remember the upside
These accomplishments are often overshadowed by the scary or difficult subjects people must think about when it comes to finances. Yet in my practice, the majority of the changes to families’ financial plans come from positive developments rather than negative ones. So, yes, we must protect against the downside, but let’s not forget we’re planning so we may enjoy the upside.
It’s important to talk about the positive accomplishments that people achieve with financial planning rather than dwell only on the risks and downside. Maybe this will help people stop thinking about financial planning like a trip to the dentist and start seeing it more like a trip to the gym — it’s challenging yet enjoyable while you’re there, and when you’re done, you feel great.
This article was originally published on NerdWallet.com and Nasdaq.com
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