My husband, Tom, and I are building a new house. The last few months have been filled with decisions about plumbing fixtures, flooring and lighting. All of our choices have a huge impact on the finished product, but can feel like an annoying task I just want to check off my list. The whole process can seem overwhelming at times. This weekend it occurred to me that it is probably not much different than how many people feel going through the financial planning process – especially when they first become clients.
I could have acted as general contractor for the new house to try to save money, but my expertise is definitely not in homebuilding. The end result likely would take much longer and there is no guarantee I would end up with a better outcome or any actual cost savings.
When people choose to work with a financial advisor, it is often because they realize that constructing a path to reach their goals is only the first step; actually staying on course is what becomes difficult. Many times we’re distracted as life happens or procrastinate when a task seems too daunting, like updating your estate plan. By setting regular meetings with your advisor, you will have someone to whom you are accountable and can ensure you are making progress in the right direction.
The Financial Goal Plans we create for our clients involve selecting the appropriate investments from the myriad of options available, setting saving and spending targets and determining when they can safely retire. If there is a service that is needed and outside of our expertise, we will refer to a specialist in areas such as tax or estate planning, but remain involved in the process to ensure that all parts of their plan are integrated. This is very similar to the process we went through with the architect to design the house and now our builder, in constructing it.
Building a house can seem daunting, but the continual communication from everyone we are working with has made the process relatively pain-free. Most of the times I find myself stressing out are self-induced – worrying that if one aspect doesn’t go as smoothly as I envisioned, it will wreak havoc on the outcome. Then I talk to the experts, step back and look at the bigger picture, and realize that although there may be bumps in the road, having a guide I trust to help me set realistic expectations gives me confidence in the end result.