Three years after launching his own business, my friend John was at his wit’s end. Sure his company was doing great, but a growing business meant growing demands on his time. He had two children in elementary school plus a toddler, and a spouse who expected him home by 6PM so she could go on her evening run.
Oh, and did I mention Jon’s involvement helping young teenagers in his local church group?
Jon’s family is busy and doing well financially. But there’s a big problem here. Jon has been thinking so hard about providing for his family while he’s working, he hasn’t been thinking about providing for his family while he’s not. He loves his business, but doesn’t want to work full-time forever. Retirement is a meaningful goal for Jon, but he’s not sure where to start, nor does he feel he has the time to.
There’s another problem, too. John doesn’t know where to go for financial help. There are dozens of financial blogs, but he doesn’t have much personal study time.
There are many financial advisors, but most of them require John to have at least $250,000 in assets. John is making great money, but he doesn’t have nearly that much invested yet.
I started Hale Financial Solutions with one purpose: to help busy families, like John’s, make great financial decisions with a big future impact. I do this in a few ways.
Understand the Power of Money
I’m not sure if Albert Einstein actually said the phrase “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world”, but it’s true. Many people understand this simple principle, but few actively apply it to their financial life.
I help clients understand the significant effects of compound interest. With debt, it can be crushing. With savings and investments it can be incredibly liberating. Most people need guidance on how to harness the compounding effect of interest over time to make a big impact on their financial future.
Invest for the Long Run
There is now a substantial amount of academic evidence that financial markets are highly unpredictable over short periods of time. This evidence suggests that stock picking and other forms of short-term investing are a poor way to create long-term wealth.
However, long-term investments can be made with a certain degree of confidence that as businesses (or stocks, which is ownership in businesses) grow, costs decrease, and innovations accelerate, the U.S. economy and foreign economies can continue to grow. Investing in stocks over long periods of time allows us to benefit from this growth as shareholders.
So why aren’t more people investing for the long-term? There are a few reasons.
First, is the lack of a plan. If you’re 40 years old and plan to retire at 65, you can invest at least some of your assets in stocks for 25 years. This gives you the wherewithal to hold on during market gyrations with the expectation that, historically, stocks recover from their downturns.
The problem is most people have no such plan in place. Not only do they not know when to retire, but they don’t know how much money they’ll need during retirement.
The second is the lack of discipline. I can’t tell you how many friends, colleagues, academics, and news commentators were telling everyone to sell their investments when the financial crisis hit in 2008-2009. To any investor during this time, it was gut-wrenching to see their portfolio drop 40-50% or more, and many were looking to salvage what they could.
A disciplined, long-term investment approach would have kept many investors “in the market”, meaning holding their investments instead of selling them, allowing them to ride the 6 year market increase following the financial crisis.
Harness the Power of Technology
Technology has vastly changed how we do business and interact. Technology also makes my job as a financial advisor much easier than it used to be. One of the biggest advantages of technology is that it helps me and my clients minimize mistakes.
When mistakes are lessened, we both get more done, faster. This keeps costs low. Technology enables much of what we’ll do together to be automated, allowing us to focus on the essential financial areas that are difficult to automate. This includes regularly meeting to make sure your financial goals are on track and to respond to changes in your financial picture.
Finally, technology saves a lot of time. Imagine having to pack up one or two kids in your sweet new family minivan, drive 30 minutes (each way) to your financial advisor’s office to get a few forms signed or discuss your investments. All for a 15-30 minute meeting. This is a terrible waste of time!
Technologies like Skype, Google Hangouts, and other virtual tools have changed the equation. Now, it’s me facing my screen in Wyoming, and you facing your screen in [fill in any location in the world with wifi]. Online tools for investing and signing documents eliminates required office visits.
Work with a Trusted Advisor
A true financial advisor is willing to take the time to look at someone’s entire financial picture:
Optimizing cash flow
Resolving debt issues
Look at a financial advisor as a financial quarterback. They survey the entire field of play to identify the right opportunity for an offensive strike. Keeping the end goal in mind, they respond the defensive threats that hedge the way. When the field of play changes, they adjust as well. This is the role of a great financial advisor. Watching and looking for the right opportunities, having an awareness of the threats, and keeping the end goal in mind.
I hope you’ll find Hale Financial Solutions a benefit to you and your family. No doubt you’re experiencing some real financial challenges as you advance in your career and grow your family. Hale Financial Solutions is uniquely designed to help you get control of your financial life so you have time for things that are more meaningful.
If you’d like to learn more, please get in touch or sign up for my weekly newsletter below.