It's been a melancholy day. We had to put our foster dog to sleep last night. He had cancer and lived longer than the veterinarian projected, so for that we are grateful. But when he lost all energy, couldn't hold down food, and lost considerable weight, the choice became clear. He was a good dog and very gentle and loving. He went out surrounded by friends.
RIP Bam Bam.
I met with a client today to talk about planning. He runs a successful business and is in the process of expanding it, and at home he has a young child with his wife.
The time to plan is something most people put off. They are either afraid to discuss finances with someone, or don't like the idea of having to follow a path with THEIR hard earned money. I sympathize with these fears. It can be scary to disclose that you have not saved anything or have large debts. It can also be uncomfortable to realize you curtail spending on some "creature comforts." But this is something I take very seriously, and I never judge clients based on past mistakes or events.
A lot of the time, a person can be thrust into a situation that is not their fault. And it can feel as if there is never a good time to meet with a financial planner. But sometimes we have to do things to plan ahead. A team or army or business never flies blindly, without goals and steps to meet those goals. Likewise, a person and their family should not go through life without some sort of plan.
If we weigh: the slight discomfort and time it takes to meet a planner versus the satisfaction of knowing why we are saving and that we are on the right path, the choice can become clearer. Imagine the satisfaction in knowing that little by little, debt is being paid off while we also save for retirement and a child's education. The assurance of knowing you are working towards a goal is the key to advancing in life.
That brings me back to my client today. Even though it was tempting for him to hold off planning and saving so that he could pay for business expenses and family comforts, the truth is he can do both. And most people can do both, as long as they accept that the amounts may start out small. Imagine agreeing to set aside $50 per week to begin saving. Starting small is better than not starting at all. That first financial plan can lead to greater benefits down the line. It can also provide peace of mind.
Whether the plan suggests a ROTH IRA and term life insurance, a 529 plan for a child, or a Simple IRA with employee group benefits, the willingness to sit down for the planning session is the most important thing. My client today saw that. Do you?
I am a Chicago-area financial adviser to young doctors & business owners.