Monday, November 18, 2013

The Best Advice Needs no more than an Index Card.

My Blog, A Man is Not a Plan, started as a way to provide financial advice and information to women. I know a lot of men that read and share my blog with spouses, daughters and friends. One reason I wanted to gear this blog toward women is that many women either control or have a better grasp of the family finances but due to a lack of confidence or lack of knowledge or education subjugate the task and authority of financial investment and saving decisions to their spouse.

I’d like state a few reasons I think a couple should seek the advice of a financial advisor and preferably a CFP® (CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™). I recommend that you work with an advisor who commits to a fiduciary standard, putting your best interests ahead of their own.

Recently, the University of Chicago Professor Harold Pollack claims the best financial advice needs no more than an index card size piece of paper. This “simple” advice is great, just not easy to implement due to human nature. I share this advice with you today. I agree with his advice, but what he doesn’t take into consideration is human psychology, risk aversion, greed and fear. That is where a good financial advisor can help you put these ideas into play. The words in parenthesis are my opinions of his advice and tips on how to implement.

1.      Max your 401(k) or equivalent – (if you are asking yourself what a 401k is, you could probably benefit from consulting an advisor to help educate you on the why and how.)

2.      Buy inexpensive, well diversified mutual funds. (If you are unsure how to evaluate and discover or uncover “hidden costs,” seek out a CFP® to explain).

3.      Never buy or sell individual securities, the person on the other side of the table knows more than you do. (Good advice on its own, no further comment from me)

4.      Save 20% of your money. (If that seems impossible, go to an advisor and map out a plan to make this happen over time by setting goals and a making a serious commitment to your financial future).

5.      Pay your credit card balance in full every month. (Best advice so far,  in my opinion. If you don’t spend more than you earn, you will be able to address 1-4 above).

I’m going to leave you with the first five to ponder and discuss with your spouse or significant other or someone you trust with money matters.

Sometimes the simple solutions are the most difficult to implement because they force you to look at and evaluate your current situation and create a new paradigm for the financial future you’ve always wanted.