There are dozens of best practices when it comes to financial and retirement planning. You may say, “I know that.” But just because you know something does not mean you are actually doing it. Many people know about systematic investing, dollar cost averaging, and the concept of paying yourself first. Yet the vast majority of working Americans have modest savings, small retirement balances, and are mired in debt. If you count yourself among this group, have you ever considered having someone coach you?
I have long felt that people do better when someone who has “been there, done that” coaches them. Personally, I have a workout coach who helps me through exercises and attain results I might not otherwise have gotten. For a reasonable sum, I receive his experience and knowledge. Likewise, many people use financial coaches to keep them on track, help them be accountable, and to teach them. Face it: high school and college did not equip us to live a successful financial life. This is where our education system has failed the majority of us.
In college, I never had a class on 401(k) plans, how to evaluate and purchase insurance, how to negotiate a contract, a lease, or the purchase of a car. Ditto, for asset allocation, saving for my kids’ college education, or my retirement. Yet these are all normal functions of adult life, and we were never taught them.
Why not consider the idea of a coaching program? Do employer-sponsored retirement plans have you confused? Learn about them! Does saving for your retirement sound too complex? Learn about it! Why not take whatever you don’t know how to do and make a study of it? Or better yet, hire someone with the skill set to be your coach. Reconsider your own skill set. There are many things you did not know five years ago. Now they are part of your daily life. The most successful people I know are constantly growing, learning, reading, and sharpening their skills. A coach can assist you to increase your knowledge and help you to strengthen your financial skills.
I was a below average student in math for much of my life until I made a real study of it. When numbers became important to me, for my own reasons, the complexity melted away and I was able to grasp the concepts that had eluded me for much of my school career. Now I feel at home with large and small numbers. When there is a dollar sign in front of the number, all complexity fades and clarity appears.
You can gain the same clarity with financial concepts, as I have with numbers. Roth IRA, SEP IRA, 401(k), capital gains, and tax loss harvesting, are all concepts that many don’t grasp. If you make a study of these, and other topics, you will gain clarity in your financial life. If you decide to hire a financial coach, do your homework and engage someone of character, intelligence, and experience. Your chances for a good outcome will increase. There are no guarantees, but I would rather have a coach in my corner than not.
Copyright 2015 by Rodger A. Friedman
Forging Bonds of Steel, LLC