The Sleep Number Adjustable Wealth Strategy? (Part I of II)
Okay follow me me here gang. Financial planning takes on multiple variables. The biggest single obstacle I see clients and potential clients facing is confusion. Confusion about strategy. Confusion about choices. Confusion about goals. This manifests itself the worst when couples goals are misaligned. (Don't worry non-married readers, part 2 of this in 2-3 weeks covers your details as well!)
So I recently met with a couple to review their needs, and potential to work together. Within minutes I knew both they and I were wasting our precise time. They agreed on nothing! I inquired about risk....wife says "I'm ultra conservative" and the statements she handed me when they sat down shows she 95% stocks. Husband says "I'm all about risk, and maximizing returns, long term." His 401k is all in money market! HELLO! It didn't end there. I asked them what their Adjusted Gross was and they both had numbers that were drastically different from each other. They handed me their 1040. The number on the 1040 differed from their stated numbers. Frustrated, I went over some basic planning techniques, fees and expenses, and shut it down and left it that I will call in a week or two.
So I wander home and enjoyably immerse myself in playoff hockey. Amen, except for my lament that my NY Rangers are out this year. Oops different topic. I'm in the 3rd intermission, which means OVERTIME Hockey! A commercial comes on for the Sleep Number Adjustable Bed®. There it is! The apple for Newton! The prospective clients that could not synchronize on goals! You see society and marketing is gearing us up for personal results. The sleep number commercial allowed him to "Dial firm, number X" while his lovely wife dialed "Y, soft." This is great for sleeping. Excuse my terminology, but this absolutely STINKS for financial planning. The advisor role, my role, is to find the common focus between the couples needs, goals and desires. If you aren't aligned, you will go through the stages of per-retirement and retirement in frustration with each other, and your advisor, and your children's or grandchildren's needs, etc. It's imperative we get this Synchronicity in place. (Not a reference to The Police and Sting today-hah!)
Carl Richards, an advisor for advisors, creates these simple sketches many of have seen. This one says it all. If we focus on what we can control, and DETERMINE that focal point, harmony will arrive.
There is way too much white noise out there for the client in the mass media. There's Geo-political tension, economic numbers, currency fluctuation, local tax issues, Fed meetings, etc, etc. You do not need to have it all figured out every minute. There is no SLEEP NUMBER you can dial to solve it all. Just find that trusted source...be it me, my colleague or your existing trusted advisor.
Part II will be shorter version. Spoiler alert: "Ask your doctor." Have you seen the millions of commercials that say..."Ask your Dr. about xyz"
One last note: If this was forwarded to you and you want to be on my distribution list, just hit me back with a reply and I will add you to the list. You'll get the video of the month, market update and if you include your birthday you'll get the birthday greeting with very useless fun birthday info about your special day. Thank you very much. John