I thought I’d share some of the things that go through my mind, financially, even though I’m “in the business” of being a financial planner and teach classes on finance and investments. The goal is to help readers understand that although we give an objective point of view when working with you there are times with our own financial well-being that we too have worries and concerns. We’re certainly not immune.
Being married with two children brings along its own set of circumstances and planning issues that I deal with. One of the obvious concerns is planning for college and how that investment of knowledge for my kids is going to be funded. Yes, we have a 529 and yes we fund it regularly; but is that enough? Will the growth of the funds keep up with the growth of college tuition (called “edu-inflation”)? What if my kids choose to not go to college (yes, it’s their choice)? What happens then? Will all the planning be for naught?
Another concern is wondering if my kids will learn any good financial habits and practice them after they leave the nest. My wife and I work hard to encourage them to save – even at the tender ages of 4 and 2 – money from birthdays, holidays, and even loose change (called “lucky coins” by my kids) that we find on walks. My hope is that they learn about money without making the same mistakes I did; but at the same time I know that’s how learn – from our mistakes. I just hope they’re not big mistakes.
Ahh, the inevitable day when they choose to spend the rest of their lives with the person they love. What will their spouse think and have learned about money? Is their spouse coming from a home that taught good money habits? If so, are they different from what my kids learned? If not, how much do I interject my “two cents” to help? Do I even offer to help?
And that’s just kids!
What about my own retirement? What does my future look like with my wife? What does retirement mean for us – still working, vacationing, traveling? How will she live after I die (statistically I’ll go first)? Yes, we’re planning and saving now, but will it be enough? If something should happen to our health, what does that mean for our kids? Are we to burden them with our decisions and lives?
OK. Deep breath…
To say that planners like us never worry about our own finances isn’t true. We have worries, fears and concerns. The good news is that’s actually beneficial. Why? I believe it helps us relate to our clients in a more personal way. We can empathize and even sympathize with our clients’ situations. We’re human – and that’s ok. And it’s ok for our clients to know that. I believe it builds a stronger bond.
So those are some of the things that go through my head in the wee hours of the morning. I hope it helps our readers understand that as financial planners, we’re also people too.