Hi, Everyone. Welcome to the Wiser Financial Advisor with Josh Nelson, where we get real, we get honest, and we get clear about the financial world and your money.
This is Josh Nelson, Certified Financial Planner and founder and CEO of Keystone Financial Services. We love feedback and we’d love it if you would pass it on to me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org . Also please stay plugged in with us, get updates on episodes and help us promote the podcast. You can subscribe to us at Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcast service.
Let the financial fun begin!
Welcome to episode #52! It’s been one year of the Wiser Financial Advisor and I can tell you that it’s been an honor and a privilege to be able to do this every week and to have listeners get some benefit out of what we’re talking about here. We’re all learning together, and today I really want to reflect back on three main themes that we emphasize here at the Wiser Financial Advisor: getting real, getting honest, and getting clear about the financial world and your money. Those aren’t just words to us; that’s the approach behind everything we do. So, hopefully this helps you not only get a feel for what we’re doing but also get a feel for your whole financial life and how those three areas apply to you and your family.
To begin, let’s talk about getting real. People learn best when they’re having fun. Think of your favorite teachers or professors and why they were your favorites. Probably because they made learning fun and interesting. Bottom line, it’s fun to learn and I can tell you from talking to people who are much older than I am, that the learning never stops. One of my clients was well into her 90s when she passed away here over the last couple of years. I asked her one time what the secret was to doing well in your older years.
She said, “Too many people choose to get old. Too many people get bored. They stop challenging themselves and stop learning and growing.”
So, it’s fun to learn and the learning never stops. Don’t ever stop learning and growing no matter what your age—whether you’re retired or you’re a student; whether you’re in a profession or own your own business. Whatever is happening for you, and maybe it’s being at home with your spouse and your kids, one of the secrets to life is to never stop contributing. Find a way to add value regardless of where you are in life. Growth and contribution are the two magic ingredients for a successful life and a successful retirement. That really is key.
I’ve learned that from so many people over the years, and applied it in my own life. When I’m focused on growth and contribution and adding value to other people’s lives, my life is fulfilled. So stay active. Refire, don’t retire. We’ve talked about that book, and I suggest you pick up a copy. It’s a short read. REFIRE! DON’T RETIRE, by Ken Blanchard. That concept is key to what we do here at the Wiser Financial Advisor and what we offer with the financial services firm of Keystone Financial Services.
Next let’s talk about getting honest. In being honest with each other and more importantly being honest with ourselves, we need to recognize that there’s a gap between knowing and doing. Because there’s no lack of information out there. Now, with the Internet, there’s about every piece of information that you could possibly find. There’s too much information. I think that’s why I still have a job. In fact, back in the late 90s when I started as a Financial Advisor, there were a lot of people telling me, “Gosh, I don’t know if that’s a really secure career path for you because, well, there’s the Internet and online trading platforms. Why would people need a Financial Advisor when they’ve got all this information and all these tools out there?”
Well, the funny thing is, those things being there actually contributed to our industry because there’s just too much information and so much of it contradicts itself. Just look at politics, right? There are so many different places that you can go out there. Look at all the different opinions back and forth depending on what your source is. Same thing in the financial world, so we’re really starving for wisdom.
What do we do with the information we find? How do we apply that to our lives, our personal lives, our financial lives, our business lives? Too many people are missing out on that doing part, and the statistics don’t lie. The average American is not in great financial shape. Studies say that about a third of American retirees are dead broke. All they have is a Social Security check. They don’t have any savings or investments or any kind of nest egg. That tells me there’s a lot of room for us to be doing what we’re doing here. There’s a lot of room for not just spewing knowledge but sharing knowledge that can be applied. One thing I’ve learned is that regardless of what people’s income is, whether they’re just starting out or making millions of dollars a year, the same principles apply. I’ve seen a lot of people that have relatively low incomes by a lot of standards, but they’ve been financially successful just because they’ve applied principles that are time-tested. By the same token, there are plenty of examples of people that have had hundreds of millions of dollars and blown it all. Lots of celebrities. Professional athletes. And the statistics tell us that the amount of income doesn’t really matter that much if sound financial principles are not being applied.
So really, knowledge is only potential power. Knowledge becomes power when we take imperfect, sometimes uncomfortable action. If we just accumulate knowledge, accumulate information over and over and over, we can do that forever. There’s an infinite amount of information out there, so it’s important that we apply some wisdom. Ultimately, taking action does something for us and we learn an awful lot from that.
Doing something is actually better than doing nothing. Even if you choose wrong, let’s say you make the wrong decision, at least you’ll learn something from it, and you can adjust your approach and move forward. That’s really the secret to success—making those adjustments and being willing to fail; being willing to be imperfect and being comfortable with taking uncomfortable action. Doing things that way can result in a huge amount of success. Many, many people that we could look at as the most successful business entrepreneurs in the world will tell you that they made a lot of mistakes and learning from those mistakes resulted in so much of their success.
So moving ahead, let’s talk about getting clear. And what I mean by that is, what do you want? What are your goals, your dreams, the outcomes that you want? When you think about your life and your money, really, can you define those outcomes? My experience tells me that most people just don’t have a clue on that. I don’t mean to be disparaging. It’s just that people have never really asked those questions.
I’ve been asked those questions and come up with some really solid answers. By solid answers, I mean making that outcome, that goal, into something solid. In other words, make it a smart goal, which means that it’s specific and it’s measurable. It’s achievable, it’s realistic, and it’s time sensitive. I think a lot of people just need to be able to ask those questions or have those questions asked of them and get specific.
By specific I mean, are we actually applying things that would nail down a time frame and also dollar amounts? Do we have a solid goal we can measure against, because what we’re doing as Financial Planners is getting very clear on where we are today and looking at what our resources are—resources such as assets, income, and employee benefits that might be offered at work. We’re getting clear about all that and then getting very clear on what it is that we’re trying to accomplish. Those are points A and B. Then financial planning is about figuring out the in-between part. Some of that is math. Clearly, there’s some math involved with figuring out what we need to do as far as dollar amounts. We look at how much money does someone need to be putting away? What rate of return do they need? How much inflation should we assume?
There’s also a big obstacle for most people somewhere in that in-between, an obstacle that could keep them from achieving what it is they want. Our job as Financial Planners to get clear on where people are now, where they’ll be in the future, and then figure out where the gap is. We need to ask what is the obstacle in between that would keep somebody from achieving their goals, their outcomes, their dreams.
Overall, the reason people are putting money away is to fund their dreams, fund the things they’ve wanted to do forever. I hope you have some juicy dreams. Sometimes people just have a vague idea like, “Well, I want to retire. Just because I’m sick of work.” Or something like that, and that’s great to have something you’re trying to move away from, but I like it when there’s something better to move toward.
One of the things I really like is hearing juicy goals because that’s something that will pull us and drive us toward achieving them. So when things do get uncomfortable or do get hard, that goal is something we really are drawn toward. Then people are able to make those adjustments, are willing to make those adjustments. We can take uncomfortable action when it’s required because we badly want something in the future, so we’re willing to do what we need to do to make it happen. Oftentimes, that means forgoing some spending. One thing we’re really good at as Americans is spending! Very effective marketing and sales techniques have been applied toward us since we’ve been born. We’ve been trained as consumers. And you know, there’s nothing wrong with spending money. Money is there to be enjoyed. It’s also meant to be invested, and it’s meant to be given away.
Just look at the average credit card balance or the average student loan balance. A lot of people will end up spending way more money than they have, end up in a financial mess and then try to dig themselves out. Our job as Financial Planners is to take a look at that situation and get clear with people on what the different parts are that would keep them from getting what they want. We look at what strategies, what tactics are needed today to be able to make this happen.
So, getting real, getting honest, and getting clear about the financial world and your money are the three things we are here to do. We will continue doing those three things into the future. We are looking for wisdom, and in Proverbs it says that going after wisdom, seeking wisdom is the wisest thing we can do. So that’s really what we’re doing here on the Wiser Financial Advisor. We’re looking at the financial world and time-tested principles. I’m not talking about principles that have just been born over the last few years or even decades. Some of these time-tested principles go back thousands of years and still apply today when it comes to financial success.
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With that I hope you have a great week. Looking forward to this next year, and God bless.
This episode has been prepared for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide and should not be relied upon for tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors. Investment advisory services offered through Keystone Financial Services, an SEC registered investment advisor.