Reaching your retirement goals is easy even if you only know a little about investing.
The key is figuring out your biggest obstacle and creating a plan to overcome it.
Think of investing like a sport. Before the horn sounds to start a race, a runner stares at the open road or track in front of them. The runner thinks about the obstacles that lie ahead. Whether it’s hilly roads or hurdles on a track. The runner knows how to overcome each obstacle to reach the finish line with a fast time. He replays his game plan in his head, and stick to it once he hits the open road.
With investing, the finish line is always different. It may be retirement or a child’s education. To finish the race successfully, you need to be committed and create a solid financial plan.
Like sports, obstacles stand in the way of the finish line. If there weren’t obstacles, we would all retire early. Right?
What do you think is the biggest obstacle to financial planning?
- Figuring out your goals
- Understanding your risk tolerance
- Finding an advisor
- Finding the time
- Getting organized
Everyone may have a different answer or a combination of answers. In my years of financial planning, one answer stands out. It’s always the biggest obstacle to financial planning. The good news is I have an easy way to overcome it. Let’s start tackling those challenges.
1. Figuring out your goals
This is an easy one to check off your list. Everyone has goals. Well, maybe not everyone, but if you are reading this, you have at least one financial goal. Maybe it’s not to run out of money in retirement, caring for a parent, or sending the kids to college.
If you don’t think you have any goals, then consult with an experienced financial planner to help you figure out and plan for your goals.
2. Understanding your risk tolerance
This is trickier than figuring out your goals. We all define risk differently. What may be risky for one investor may not be for another.
A number of factors go into determining your risk. You first have to figure out your risk tolerance and then look at the risk in your portfolio. Then, you can match up the two.
3. Finding an Advisor
You have two choices to manage your finances. You can self-advise or find a qualified financial advisor. Being your own financial planner is like being your own lawyer or doctor. Usually, the professional will do a better job than you can. Check the Certified Financial Planner or Financial Planning Association website to find a few advisors. Then, ask them these questions.
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4. Finding the time to invest
This is a big one, or at least it is the most often used excuse. We all have busy lives, but you need to find time to create an investment strategy. If you don’t take time to plan for the future, all that business that consumes your working life won’t pay off.
Studies show Americans take more time planning vacation than planning their financial future. While vacation is important, you need to plan for the ultimate vacation – retirement.
5. Getting Organized
And the winner is Ding! Ding! Ding! Getting organized. Getting organized is the toughest obstacle to overcome.
When a client starts the road to financial planning, I gather their financial data. It’s often a painful process. Clients and prospective customers accumulate investment accounts over the years, and lose track of them. That’s because we change jobs, move, or switch investment partners. As a result, clients have fragmented investments making it hard to see the whole picture.
Even if you can keep track of the old 401(k)s, IRA rollovers, college savings accounts, and brokerage accounts, it’s hard to see the big picture when they are so spread out. How do you reach the finish line when you have 5 different strategies working at the same time?
While multiple investment strategies are important, the bigger issue is maintaining focus. It’s hard to see the finish line when you are not organized. You need to know where you are starting from to create a successful financial plan.
At Open Road Wealth Management, we have a solution. We call it, “See all of your accounts in one place.” It’s also called account aggregation in the financial industry. Simply put, our software lets you see your assets and liabilities in one place no matter where they are held. Plus, you can see your performance.
It saves you time too. You don’t have to gather your statements to start financial planning, or for quarterly and/or annual updates. Everything is updated daily. Our software even has a vault to keep important documents. You could call it a financial warehouse. Take a tour here.
Whether you use technology to get organized or come up with another system, the message remains the same: Get organized and hit the Open Road to financial success. Need some motivation, consider going Digital. Need some motivation?
Like Warren Buffet said, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second-best time is now”. Check out other money quotes here.
See you on the Open Road!