People meet with me on a daily basis about money. It is the primary reason I have employment: People need to know what to do with their money. They want to know how to make it work for them, how to save it, how to invest it, even how to spend it. The funny thing is, the meetings are never really about money. Emotional finance is a crucial aspect to my relationships with my clients. When I say “emotional finance,” I don’t mean panic selling or getting overly excited about a great day for the S&P 500. I mean that our emotions and our relationships are often the drivers of our financial decisions.
When you meet with your advisor, I highly suggest you go beyond the numbers and delve deeper into what you truly want in your life and how you can use money as a tool to get there. It’s true that money alone can’t buy happiness, but if you’re smart with your money, you can use it to get on the right path to what makes you happy.
Here are five circumstances you should bring to your advisor that aren’t just about money:
1. Changing or Quitting a Job
It’s becoming increasingly rare to have just one career and almost unheard of to stay at the same company for an entire career. When you’re thinking about a shift, the time to let your advisor know isn’t when you’re rolling your 401(k) over — it’s when you’re still in the designing phase of the career leap.
We aren’t just here to tell you “no,” or to crunch numbers to help you figure out your budget (although we can do that, too!). Most advisors have contacts in various areas and may have a client or connection in the field you’re hoping to move into. We can help you connect, or help you consider varying aspects of the career move. Ask your advisor if she knows anyone in the company you’re checking out, or in the area you’d like to work in. Chances are, she does.
We can also work with you to develop a game plan that will allow you to move from your current position to your dream role with confidence so that you can handle whatever lifestyle shifts occur. The question doesn’t have to be whether you can make a big change, but rather how you can make the change. We’re here to help brainstorm ways to help make it all work — from modeling planning scenarios to seeing what lifestyle changes are needed to reviewing health insurance and benefit options.
2. Taking the Next Step in a Relationship
Thinking of a joint account in the near future? Did you recently get engaged, or are you thinking about moving in together? Most financial planners have helped clients work through the exciting and sometimes hectic events that come with moving forward together in a relationship. We are there to help you consider the big picture, but also all of the little things that come with big events.
We can be a sounding board for concerns you may have and help you to assess what’s a realistic concern that should be addressed and what is less likely to become an issue. We can also meet with you as a couple to go through a planning process and help you to get on the same page and tackle some of the tough questions in a productive way. While we’re not couples’ therapists, financial planners can play an important role in the harmony of your relationship by helping to stop arguments over money before they even begin.