Occasionally, I’m asked, “What would you do if you were me?” The probability that you have faced the same question is very likely. It’s a tough spot in which to find yourself! Undoubtedly, if you know the person’s circumstances and have had a similar experience, you’re comfortable giving advice. If you feel some hesitation, though, you would probably reconsider the facts and weigh several options in order to decide on the best advice.
The unknown piece is you can’t predict the person’s response to your advice because you are not the person asking the question. Everyone reacts differently to advice from others so I am cautious as to whether they are sincerely looking for advice from me or seeking validation for a plan they have already thought through.
Different situations require different considerations. Simple situations can be satisfied with easy-to-give advice. Extreme questions require extreme considerations and planning. If my friend was asking for the best apple pie recipe, that’s easy. However, if my friend was asking how much to save for his retirement, that requires more thought and planning.
Here’s the dilemma when extreme questions are about money. Extreme questions require you to expose yourself. One client said, “I feel like I am standing here naked,” as she handed me their investment portfolio, credit card statements, bank statements, and tax returns. No doubt it’s a daunting experience to reveal what you’ve done with your life’s earnings. Definitely you saved as well as squandered a share of your income. You may even feel like you could have done a better job if you’d tried harder. A financial planner can be compared to a doctor. We diagnose potential problems when you are willing to expose yourself. We examine any symptoms and treat any ailments with plausible remedies to make the “boo-boo” go away. Many people are reluctant to go for their annual health check-up. They also experience the same reluctance to make an appointment with a financial planner. Much like an x-ray reveals broken bones, a financial plan can help diagnose broken parts in need of repair and ensure you are on the right track.
The decision you must make is whether to work with CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional or fly solo. Equipping yourself with financial information is the secret to a successful outcome. Financial Literacy Month and Financial Planning Week were launched for the same reason I publish my blog posts, to create awareness concerning “your financial health”. We can’t do everything perfectly right. I can honestly say I squander my share of money on things that are not always beneficial. However, I believe we can all be coaxed into striking a balance between our spending and saving habits. Maintaining great financial health is an impressive habit to develop, something which was discussed in my last blog.
With masses of information available on the Internet, here are three specific websites to gain access to various topics, such as dealing with life’s challenges, starting your first job, and how to open a bank account. Pick a topic of special interest to your particular circumstances and get smarter about money.
To end on a different note, I’d like to share this story that I use in my “Money Matters” presentation.
There was only one problem. The captain’s parrot saw the shows every week and began to understand what the magician did in every trick. Once he understood, he started shouting in the middle of the show.
“Look, it’s not the same hat!”
“Look, he’s hiding the flowers under the table!”
“Hey, why are all the cards the Ace of Spades?”
One day the ship had an accident and sank. The magician found himself on a piece of wood, in the middle of the ocean, and of course, the parrot was by his side.
They stared at each other with hate, but did not utter a word. This went on for several days.
After a week the parrot finally said, “Okay, I give up. What’d you do with the boat?”
Like the parrot who wondered what the magician did with the boat, we, too, may be wondering at the end of our working careers, “What did we do with the money?”
I’m asking, “What would you do”
…with an inheritance
…to prepare for retirement
…when you face a critical illness
…if you lost your job
…to ensure you are on the right track financially
…to save for your children’s education
Extreme questions may require you to “get naked”? So, what will you do?