I’ve spent the majority of my life serving in the military where I was exposed to a lot of professional development and reading. One of those books was Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why,” and it always struck me as a perfectly sensible way to begin any endeavor. Everything worth doing should start with a “why?” This blog is no different, and given my background it only felt right to start this introductory blog with, “Why I chose to be a financial advisor.”
To answer it fully and give some perspective I need to start a little further back. I didn’t grow up wealthy and hand-me-down clothes were greatly appreciated. For summer jobs I worked construction and found while it paid my bills, I wanted more. Shortly after I enlisted in the Air Force I learned some money lessons the hard way—credit cards are not your friend. It took me a few years, extra jobs and frugal living to dig my way out of that hole. About that time, I was up for a promotion which came with a little extra pay. A Staff Sergeant asked me what I was going to do with it, to which I replied “spend it.” He chuckled a bit asked about my TSP (government 401k) and any other savings I might have. Now here’s where Sergeant “M” didn’t laugh; I had no investments and I had no savings. He made me sign up for the retirement plan right away. While doing so, he explained how it worked and how I could better secure my future simply by planning for it. Thanks to Sergeant “M’s” lessons, I have the confidence to enjoy life free of daily worry about finances and know my family’s financial future is secure. For over 20 years I have followed his advice while greatly expanding on that initial knowledge and was frequently given an opportunity to educate others. I’ve seen first-hand how financial problems negatively affect the lives and careers of otherwise great people. I also learned with a bit of good education and professional help, people enjoy their life more and are closer to reaching their goals.
People need competent, trustworthy help in navigating their finances because good financial planning can be complicated. There aren’t as many pensions to supplement a retirement as there used to be. My grandfather worked for AT&T for many years until he had a stroke and his pension kicked in. After he passed, my grandmother lived off that pension, social security, the sale of the stocks he accumulated, and the help of family/neighbors. Employer sponsored retirement plans (like a 401k, for example) have only been around for about 40 years and didn’t even surpass the number of pension plans until the end of the 1990’s. The responsibility is now on the individual to make sure they have accumulated enough to retire on. Upon retirement the retiree then must develop a retirement income plan to make those assets last. Retirement isn’t the only thing to financially plan for. College is getting more expensive; who is going to pay for it and how? Choosing the correct Social Security claiming option can add complexity in planning for retirement. The wrong strategy can have life-long consequences for you and your family. We are living longer, and with that comes increased costs. Long term care is expensive and can financially ruin your estate if you don’t plan for it.
These issues amount to a lot of responsibility for each individual to successfully navigate without any expert help. Most people are very busy with their family and chosen careers. They need to have a good source of un-biased advice to help them pursue their goals and navigate the vast number of financial roadblocks they may encounter. That’s what we do, we help our clients navigate these issues and develop a sound plan to sleep better at night. We love helping our clients achieve their goals. I’ll end this with a question for you. Do you have a “Why” for the things you’re doing financially? I hope the why you come up with is a top priority for you.