We all have priorities and stuff that matters to us. Getting kids to practice, volunteer opportunities, a side job, exercising, rewatching Band of Brothers every Labor Day weekend, or whatever. Occasionally, our priorities require more attention than was originally foreseen, and other responsibilities aren’t maintained. We recognize it, and all too often we excuse ourselves with any number of reasons that seem to make sense at the time. We settle for what we think is “good enough” when in reality, it’s not good at all.
When was the last time you were pretty confident about how you should approach a problem, but didn’t follow through with it? Maybe you even consulted an expert, but still did nothing?
I get it because I’m just like everyone else. I’ve noticed certain areas of my life slipping lately. I’ve reprioritized my life a bit, but there are still areas, important areas, that need way more attention than the meager amounts I’ve given it.
What am I personally grappling with right now?
I’ve ignored my investments for too long.
Surprised? Don’t be. It’s not uncommon for people in all sorts professions (blue and white collar) to focus their energy on work and other priorities to the detriment of the very area of their life that they help others with. That’s where I find myself. I haven’t been consistently following a piece of my own advice that I know is in my family’s best interest. This isn’t some kind of scandal or something to be ashamed of, it’s just life. Problems like the one I’m addressing are particularly sinister. At the moment, there isn’t a consequence to your lack of attention. Only later, perhaps too late, do the repercussions of your apathy become all too apparent and cause big issues.
But, as of today, I’m doing something about it. My wife and I are meeting with a financial advisor this afternoon to discuss a number of things, but primarily about managing our investments. We’ve finally admitted we can’t do it all (work, homeschool, kids practice, exercise, housework, volunteering, some semblance of a social life, and on and on…) and things need to change. We need help making sure we stay on track with our financial goals and that our investment strategy is aligned appropriately.
Some of you may be thinking, “If a CFP is asking for help with his finances, does everyone need help?” I would argue more yes than no, but meaningful help looks different for everyone. Maybe you need someone to hold you accountable on a budget? Maybe you need someone to walk you through the process of opening up a Roth IRA? Maybe you need help organizing your debt and creating a plan to get out from under that burden? There are all sorts of financial issues that you may be facing that don’t require a full blown financial advisor. Perhaps a friend can fill the role you need by telling them you need them to ask you certain questions to keep you on track? And, maybe they get access to your check register to see if your words are backed up by your actions? If you’re not comfortable asking a friend for help, services like Your Money Line (offered by your employer) and Hey Money (subscribed to individually) are created specifically for these situations. You work with a professional who has nothing to sell you and only your best interests in mind. The takeaway here is, find someone who can help you do what is best for you.
If you’re struggling to resolve an issue or find consistency in an area of your life, talk to someone about it. I know asking for help about personal matters can be fraught with anxiety. I promise you, though, you’ll be thankful you did and be better off for it.