”It is more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly.” ~ Mabel Newcomer
If you don’t have a clear, defined financial goal how are you going to know if you ever reach it?
‘Make Money’ is not a SMART goal (Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Timely). How much money? In what time frame? With what amount initially invested? You need to clearly state exactly what it is you want to accomplish. Then, you can measure and evaluate, and make adjustments as needed to stay on course.
When you want to go somewhere you’ve never been before do you just get in the car, start driving and hope you get there? Of course not. You get out a map, look at where you are and where you want to go, and then plan a route that suits you best based on your personal preferences and needs – like taking or avoiding toll roads or highways, visiting certain cities or sites along the way, taking 3 hours to get there versus 6 hours, etc. If you run into a roadblock or detour or something unexpected comes up then you pull the map back out, make the necessary adjustments and get back on the road. A plan to meet your financial goals can and should be crafted and maintained in much the same manner.
So what is it that you want your investments to accomplish? Think both short and long-term. Do you want to generate income to pay for college tuition? A wedding? To replace a spouse’s income so they can stay home with kids or retire early? To help you retire to a warmer climate or closer to children and grandchildren?
It’s okay to think big; you just have to be prepared to plan and break it down into manageable chunks to make it happen. You also need to be patient and give the plan time to work. You can’t make a great chili without letting the spices simmer! It’s also okay to change your mind and make changes along the way. You never know what life’s going to throw at you.
One of my biggest pet peeves is that most so-called ‘financial advisors’ don’t seem to actually advise people at all. They just babble on about risk and safety and then suggest putting money into a company-managed fund (for which they get compensated) and eventually you should ‘make money’, because it’s a ‘balanced’ fund where losers are off-set by winners.
Really?! I should spend the next 30 years investing my life savings in something I don’t fully understand that might eventually make me some amount of money? How is that a good plan? Please don’t tell me that it’s to protect my principal. If that were the case, it’d be easier and safer to just stick to FDIC-insured CD’s.
Every asset should have a POSITIVE effect: Generating income, off-setting paper gains/losses, creating tax benefits, preserving or enhancing net worth or otherwise helping me reach my overall personal and financial goals in some way, shape or form. Personally, I want my assets working as hard as possible! Every investment should have a specific purpose for being in your portfolio and role to play in working towards your overall goals.
If you don’t understand why you are invested in a particular product or vehicle, you need to ask questions and do some research. At the very least you should be able to read and understand your investment account statements. If your advisor can’t or won’t help, it might be time to find a new advisor. Remember, no one will care as much about your money as you.
Bottom line, if I’m paying for advice, I want an opinion. I’m not asking for a guarantee, just an opinion from a knowledgeable professional in that particular field. I want a summary of information and data used to form that opinion. I want to know exactly what this particular investment is designed to do for my portfolio and how and when it will help achieve my overall investment goals.
Then I can make an informed decision and make sure I stay on track to accomplish my goal.
- How to Turn Teen Girls Into Financial Prodigies (dailyfinance.com)
- How to Successfully Plan for Retirement (money.usnews.com)
- Financial Tips to Grow Your Wealth and Fulfill Your Goals (shawketali.wordpress.com)
- Financial Goal Setting for Better Future (knowledge2finance.wordpress.com)