A recent survey conducted by BlackRock, an American global investment management corporation, found that more than 55% of their survey respondents said their biggest source of personal stress was money — far and away ahead of their work, health and family concerns. Is this surprising to you?
In my role as a financial advisor, the BlackRock study confirms what I see every day. Stressing over money can impact households of all income levels, not just those living paycheck to paycheck. So how do we best alleviate money stress for all situations?
The first step is to recognize the various areas of “financial health” that must be satisfied to alleviate one’s stress. Today, the primary causes of financial stress can be boiled down to three things: money scarcity, investment and economic uncertainty, and having a lack of financial knowledge or direction.
We often apply those stressors to our individual financial situations. On a day-to-day basis, here are the most common financial questions I hear from clients:
- How much should I save for my child’s education?
- What will I need to accumulate, in order to retire comfortably?
- What are the tax implications of selling my business?
- Is my asset allocation appropriate for my risk tolerance?
Certainly, no two financial situations are the same. Everyone has unique circumstances, goals, resources, and obstacles to overcome. But by far, the best approach to tackling your financial stress is a simple one: create a financial roadmap for yourself.
A financial roadmap or plan works a lot like your GPS. Just as a GPS can remove one of the biggest stresses and risks of driving in an unknown area, so too can a financial plan remove the stress/risk when it comes to achieving your financial goals. Consider this, most new drivers are advised to plan their route ahead of taking to the road, to reduce the uncertainty of being a novice. Similarly, the Waze app helps a driver concentrate on the actual task of driving by helping to remove that uncertainty of alternate route selection or by providing warnings of obstacles or hazards on the route. You get the drift.
Roadmaps and plans work, and the Blackrock survey results certainly lend credence. Survey respondents who have a financial plan are more likely (78%) to experience a higher degree of overall well-being today than those without a plan (52%).
Let’s face it, in the absence of a plan, the choices are pretty cut-and-dried:
- Don’t worry about it — “Out of sight, out of mind. I’ll get to it one day…”
- Hope for the best — “I think this is what I should be doing, but I really don’t know what I don’t know.”
Conversely, a goal-oriented, collaborative financial plan is the remedy for a better, more worry-free life. Professional advisors are there as your guide, your GPS. We allow you to be the hero of your story, while giving you sound advice to get to where you want to go.
The greatest satisfaction I receive is helping a client think through, and stay on top of, the inevitable financial decisions that will need to be made to achieve their “Good Life”. Our interests start and end with helping you achieve the life you desire with as little worry and doubt as humanly possible.
Life is too short to be worried about money and all the financial decisions that can greatly impact your quality of life down the road. Whether you are looking for advice on your retirement plan, college planning, or someone to help manage your investments, we can help.