Early Monday morning I was at the gym when I crossed paths with a nice elderly gentleman who went out of his way to tell me how much he enjoys my column. He said that, even at his age, he picks up valuable and useful information.
I graciously accepted his kind words. One of the things I really enjoy
about the financial services industry is that it requires me to stay
current with the continuous barrage of rules, regulations and trends in
this ever-changing world.
What I didn’t mention to the gentleman was that later in the week I
would be attending an educational seminar for three days. Three days
where I would get to listen and learn from some of the most respected
financial people in the country.
Later that same morning, I learned that a dear friend died unexpectedly
while on a camping trip. And finally, still on Monday, I met with some
clients who proudly shared their child’s plans for college.
In a nutshell, that one Monday summarized why thorough financial
planning is so important. First, statistics clearly show that people are
living longer than ever before. The challenge is to make certain that
retirees do not outlive their income.
But, sometimes you can be on the wrong side of statistics. The call I
received later in the morning about a friend’s unexpected death is a
reminder that no matter how thorough your retirement planning, your
family’s world can change in a heartbeat. It may be difficult to
discuss, but life insurance and estate planning are a critical part of
the planning process.
Finally, planning for a son’s or daughter’s higher education should
begin the day they’re born. Having the funds to pay for college isn’t
something that just happens. It’s a goal that needs to be achieved. One
that takes hard work and financial sacrifice on the part of mom and dad.
There’s no question that the world we live in is complex and there’s no
one-size-fits-all solution. For example, years ago a retiree could live
relatively comfortably on the interest he or she received from bank
deposits. Now, interest rates are so low that retirees need to find
additional sources to generate income.
As far as college education goes, I can still recall an auto executive
telling me that, while in college, he could come home for the summer,
walk into the plant and make enough money to pay all his college bills
and then some.
In today’s world, college costs have skyrocketed and high paying summer
jobs are few and far between. This national trend of higher costs and
less income has resulted in a staggering amount of college debt that’s
choking recent grads.
The one constant in the world is change and it’s changing faster than
ever. Tax rates, interest rates and economic conditions change rapidly.
Life situations can change faster than the blink of an eye.
Without planning, your chance of success is limited. In order to achieve
your goals and objectives you have to take the time to plan. And you
need to plan for the good (child’s education), the sad (sudden death),
and the likely (long life).
That’s why I, along with most reputable financial advisers, study hard to help clients achieve their goals.