No matter what business you are in, everyone wants to maintain and enhance their lifestyle throughout their lifetime. This basic desire is forgotten many times when clients visit their financial advisor. The products and services offered by the advisor are insignificant if this primary concern is overlooked. Why is the most important financial concept rarely discussed? What is retireability? Some say they have no desire to retire or do not believe they will ever be able to retire because of the difficulties in the economy. Retireability is not just a state of mind of wanting to retire, it is also a capability of having the resources to fund that desire.
"Anything the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve."
Though many would like to retire, most do not know what is required. This is where many people prematurely jump into a financial plan. Analysis of what you have is the last step in determining your Retireability Factor.
First, your advisor needs to know you. What is your purpose in life, what is important to you, what challenges are you facing now, what opportunities would you pursue if those challenges disappeared, what are you passionate about? These questions help your advisor know you. They need to understand your life story because without it how can they know what is important to you?
Second, your advisor needs to know where you want to go. What is your life dream, the vision of your future you and your spouse discussed when you were just dating? Too often this is a black and white, out of focus picture of the future. It needs to be a widescreen BlueRay movie with surround sound. The more we are able to visualize our future the faster it becomes a reality. Make sure your advisor helps you clearly define your dream for the future. A clear vision of your future becomes the catalyst for making it a reality.
Third, now you will need to determine why this dream is truly important. Is this dream necessary or just a nice idea? Unless your dream is vital you will not put the required motivation behind it to make it a reality. So take a moment and consider why this dream is necessary for you to achieve.
Fourth, at this point your advisor should ask when do you want to make this a reality? Too often we push our retirement into the distant future, when most of us can start to retire now. Why not start doing now what you want to do in the future? How many people do you know delayed their desires until retirement only to miss their dreams because of health concerns or an early death? This is unfortunate because everyone can start to retire now. By making your retirement urgent you can enjoy now what many will wait for and lose.
Fifth, now comes the difficult question, how do we make this a reality? If your advisor knows who you are and where you want to go and you believe this is truly important and you would rather start sooner than later, then they will be able to do the analysis necessary to create a plan of action to make this dream a reality. Too often this analysis is attempted before these questions are asked and answered. The result is clients are unprepared. These questions set the stage for the last step.
Sixth, and finally. After the important questions are answered and understood, both you and your advisor can go through the analysis necessary to build a bridge to where you want to go. Now your advisor can ask what do you have and it will have a context and can be used in the analysis to determine how to build your action plan to take you from where you are to where you want to be in the future.
Too often advisors start off talking about the money and then never get back to asking you about your life. This results is prescriptions being written before proper examination and diagnosis has occurred. In the health care industry this is called "malpractice".
This conversation creates a different result. These six questions, asked in this order will assist both you and your advisor in creating a compelling future, and building a road map to achieve your dreams.
This conversation is not a fifteen minute meet and greet. To do this properly you and your advisor should set aside a couple of hours. You can not tell your story in a few minutes and your vision needs to be more than a vague concept.
If your advisor is not doing this with you, find someone. If they will not take the lead, then require them to slow down and listen to you first, before they try to give you a solution.
We will talk more about the "retireability factor" in the coming weeks. If you find the information helpful send it to someone you value.