- Posted October 1, 2018
Let’s Change the Conversation
I call myself a Special Needs Planner, because I don’t like the terms “life coach”, “financial advisor” or “financial planner”. What I do has aspects of each, but in my opinion none of these terms really fit. When I hear “life coach” I think hippy or guru, I have a hard time reconciling this term with something people are looking for or willing to work with (speaking in generalities). Financial planner/advisor seem to be used interchangeably and both evoke images of someone trying to sell a product or manage investments. There are fee-only planners out there, but even they are looking to manage assets (it creates a recurring income stream).
So what’s my point? I believe in the core of my being everyone needs help establishing a broad outline of how to set and accomplish their goals. No, not everyone can afford to do this, but there are organizations, like 1 Life Fully Lived, offering insight and ideas. For those who can afford the help, push the issue. Don’t be satisfied with reports on how your investments are doing or buying the proper amount of insurance – industries respond to demand.
Investments are one way to fund your long-term goals, and insurance is how you protect yourself and your family when bad things happen (deliberately oversimplifying). But few of us live our lives by strictly these metrics. We have things we want to do, for ourselves and others. We have questions Google can’t answer, at least not satisfactorily. We don’t need more broad ranging ideas of what we COULD do, but rather ideas on HOW to do things.
This is why I do what I do – because I don’t think I’m the only person who feels this way. The majority of this country does not fall into the category “wealthy”, according to the balance America’s median (better indicator than an “average”) is $68,828 (https://www.thebalance.com/american-net-worth-by-state-metropolitan-4135839). So why aren’t more professionals seeking to help?
I think part of the reason is apathy – I believe many people aren’t even asking for help because they don’t think they have enough money. It can be a vicious circle, don’t feel there is enough money so don’t ask; don’t ask so don’t receive help to make progress and save more money. Let’s work on changing this dynamic. Take advantage of seminars, even if there is a cost. Listen to podcasts like Afford Anything, HerMoney with Jean Chatzky, or Clark Howard (to give just a few examples). The key is to do something you’re not doing, change your paradigm.
Another part is people are correct, it seems many who give advice or plan require “x” amount of assets. So look for those who don’t. Resources like NAPFA, CFP Board and FPA may help you find someone. Be open to maybe working remotely (via internet/phone) if you can’t find one in your neighborhood – experience and ability to relate are more important (in my opinion) than proximity.
These are a few ideas, I’m sure I’ve overlooked many more. Let’s see what you can accomplish and become the best you.