Know Yourself: Deciding Whether or Not You Need Help

 Know Yourself: Deciding Whether or Not You Need Help As you may have determined from my previous articles, the ongoing theme is that when you are clear about what is important to you in your life, your decisions will be easy. In my previous articles I have discussed the importance of clarifying your values, defining your important financial goals, and benchmarking your current financial reality. I also discussed the use of the Financial Road Map- to use as a guide and inspiration for achieving your goals and fulfilling your values.

So, what do you do now? Well, you must have a plan that will give you the highest probability of achieving your goals. How do you get a plan? There are three ways - you can (1) do it yourself, (2) collaborate with a broker or financial product salesperson or (3) hire a competent, trusted advisor to do it for you. All three can be successful. To help you to determine which approach is best for you, I'll share a story about a recent experience that I had.

I was dining out with my family and since my kids were about the same age as others in the restaurant, the children started to play together. Naturally, the parents started to converse. The subject quickly got around to occupations. It turned out that the father was a physician. I told him that I am a financial advisor. When he learned this he said, "What a coincidence, managing my money is a hobby of mine." What was really a surprise to me was that the good doctor would spend his free time managing his money, and also that he was obviously neglecting his health, of all things, to do it. He was very overweight.

Now, here's a guy that understood, I'm sure, the implications of being overweight to his overall well-being and longevity and therefore on his family. But, if I had the chance to ask why he didn't make improving his health a hobby - something that would have a more direct benefit for his family over time, he probably would have said that he had no time for that!

Here's a thought-provoking question: Why wouldn't he delegate those things that he can, like managing his money, so that he can spend time on the more important things like diet, exercise and spending time with his children - three things that he cannot delegate? After all, there are plenty of qualified and trustworthy advisors that can invest for him. I guess he simply lost sight of his priorities. Surely he must know that his health is more important than his money! I believe that many people believe that they must manage their money because the media tells them that they should do it. Of course, financial product companies have a significant influence, as well, as they pay substantial amounts to advertise their products. I like to call this financial sensationalism because of its superficial allure.

Here's an example of what I mean. Let's say that two people make the same investment. Person A spends hours, days, or even weeks researching the investment. Person B doesn't have a clue how or why it works, but follows the guidance of his advisor. They make the investment on the same day, hold it for the same length of time, sell it on the same day, and have the same fees and expenses. Let's assume there was a gain. Who got the better return? Of course, they both got the same financial return but Person B got the better overall "life" return because she invested far less time in the process. Understanding how things work is not the key to success. The key to success is ACTION. Person A and Person B got the same return because they took the same action.

If you are serious about achieving your goals and fulfilling your values, managing your money cannot be your hobby any more than you would start a family as a diversion. If you are really dedicated and want to spend the time initially to educate yourself and the ongoing time required to implement and monitor your plan - then do it. Just be sure that you don't sacrifice what's really important in the long run. However, if you want a certain financial outcome and you're not interested in spending the time to learn all that you must learn to be successful - then delegate to a competent financial professional.

To help you figure out whether you should hire an advisor or go it alone, ask yourself this question: "What, in the overall scheme of things, is more important than money?" I have asked this question in my seminars and client interviews and generally get these answers: Health, Family/Relationships, Faith/Spirituality, Having Fun and Career Success. You have 168 hours in a week. Most people could fill up their time in the aforementioned five categories - things that really make life worthwhile. When you are clear that your quality of life is a direct reflection of how you spend your time, you will become very particular about what you do and what you won't do. Have you heard anyone say, "I have less and less time to enjoy what I worked so hard for." I have. So I suggest that you consider delegating things that can be delegated. This suggestion is based on two principles: (1) The more you align your behavior with what's important to you, the happier, more satisfied and fulfilled you'll be and (2) the more that you can delegate what's less important, the more time you'll have for what is more important. The managing of your money is fully delegatable.

You have 168 hours per week. I suggest you invest your time in those things that give you the best quality of life. It's your life. It's your choice.

Advisor is a registered representative with and offers securities through Linsco/Private Ledger Member NASD/SIPC

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