With everything going on in the global economy today, everyone needs a little extra help and advice. Just look at these facts and statistics:
· Credit card debt is now over $925 billion
· 63% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck
· Mortgage interest rates are over 6%
· Auto loan rates are over 6%
· We are in a global recession
· The US government has reached its debt ceiling of $31.2 trillion
It’s time to take a look at your finances and determine a strategy for action that is specific to you and your family… but where do you turn? Or most specifically where do you NOT turn.
Think twice before receiving and using the advice from the following:
1. Your co-workers – especially if financial strategy is not their day job. Where they may want to be helpful, they can only give advice on what they have researched and that is usually specific to their financial situation. Plus, you can’t be sure exactly how much research they did. Was it a few 60 second videos on social media or years of learning?
2. Your family – if this is not their field of expertise, they could do more harm than good. Your family will be well-intentioned and may have been successful in some financial areas but your personal financial relationships differ. It may be great to have conversations with them, and families should be discussing finances, but once you’ve had those conversations, ask for the referral of the financial experts they used to help them with their success. Consider a family financial club and bring in experts to give advice and provide products and services.
3. Friends – Friends should constantly have conversations about improving finances and investing. Throwing around ideas and motivation is what friendship is about. However, after the ideas are thrown, set up friend’s night out events (a friends money club) and ask experts to come share insight and answer questions. You’ll gain more success.
4. Financial product sales associates – What’s the motive for the sale of the greatest product since sliced bread they are trying to sell you? Is it really the best product for what YOU are trying to accomplish or is it the product that’s going to get THEM the BIGGEST commission?
5. Social Media “Experts” – there are some great people on social media giving advice and a ton are legit and there are some just regurgitating info they heard… on social media. If you’ve been following someone on social media and are drawn to them, do some research, on them, and set up a consultation. Trust your gut during that consultation and do some of your own research of what they told you. Also, do some research for what you want to know, before you meet, so you can decide if they know their stuff.
6. A bad financial planner or financial strategist. Trust your gut during the consultation, check out reviews (not having any is not a bad thing but having bad ones is a red flag), and pay attention to the results once you start working with them. Remember, cheaper is not always better and the referral may not be the best for you and your needs even if they had some success with the person who referred them to you.
When looking for a financial planner or financial strategist, be sure to
1. Meet with them before you start working with them to determine if the fit is right.
2. Do your research on them for bad reviews and trust your gut – if they don’t ‘feel’ right, they probably are not ‘right’ for YOU.
3. Be as clear as you can on your financial goals before you start working with them. Make sure the plan they are suggesting helps you reach those goals and not just increase their income.
4. Interview them – how and why did they get started, what’s most important to them, has a client ever been disappointed in the results (People will always talk about the wins but not about the ‘losses’ with a client. It happens and it doesn’t mean they are a bad financial planner or strategist), what are their qualifications and successes?
In the end, getting financial assistance, to improve your financial relationship and reach your goals, is smart and something everyone should do. Starting as early as possible (the younger the better) allows you to experience life the way you desire as opposed to the way you can afford.
Do as much of your own research as possible, on the planner/strategist you use and the products and services being provided and be sure to monitor results.
Also, be sure to have constant conversations with the person you are seriously dating and have an intention on building a life with. And be sure to start having conversations with your children when they are really young to set them up for financial success.
It’s never too early, or late, to get help with your financial situation.