As a consumer, you may be left in a quandary. You know intellectually that you need and value help in getting your financial life in order, but there’s a laundry list of reasons why you don’t do it. Do any of the following sound familiar?
- “I don’t have time.”
- “I don’t know whom to trust.”
- “I’m embarrassed for anyone to see how little I really know about financial matters.”
- “I feel intimidated.”
- “I don’t want my spouse to find out that I’ve been faking it.”
The list goes on and on. The excuses all feel real and important, but they are mostly just from that part of your brain where the “fear center” resides.
Some conditions, such as job loss, death of a spouse or divorce, have the power to push people out of fear and into action. They are powerful enough to move many people from status quo to “holy smokes I’d better do something” mode.
So, to address the fears and issues listed above:
- Time: Yes, this is a tough one. Everyone is busy. However, if you wait until a crisis arises, your chance of a positive outcome is greatly diminished.
- Trust: This is a biggie. Getting referrals from friends can work, but it can also be a disaster simply because you don’t know the level of due diligence they went through in their search. They might have met some random broker at party who had a great pitch and wooed them on the spot. Start with this rule of thumb: If the advisor you choose is NOT acting in a fiduciary capacity, RUN! The fiduciary standard means the advisor is legally and ethically required to act in your best interest. It’s a good place to start. Follow the link to the NAPFA Guide, Pursuit of a Financial Advisor http://bit.ly/2eOAfCq.
- Embarrassment: Let’s take a step back. If your car breaks down, unless you are a mechanic, are you really going to dive under the hood? If your roof leaks, your refrigerator breaks or you have a medical condition, are you really going to try to fix it yourself? When it comes to money and financial issues, too many people have convinced themselves that they should, by some magical means, have a clear understanding of financial matters. Believe me, it’s silly thinking and a self-constructed roadblock to getting much-needed assistance.
- Intimidation: OK, I get it. Nothing is more frustrating than sitting across from any professional and having a flood of jargon and industry terms being thrown in your direction. Whether it’s in the doctor’s office, the lawyer’s office or your financial advisor’s office, it IS intimidating! Your job is to clearly and unequivocally state that jargon is unacceptable, and it is THEIR job to communicate using words that are clear and understandable.
- Faking it: This is typically a man thing. Guys posing as experts on everything is to blame for important stuff not getting done. Ditch the ego, gents, and realize that there’s more at stake here than your imaginary picture of yourself. No one can be an expert on everything. (That being said, after all these years, I’ve gotten pretty proficient at replacing light bulbs in fixtures I can reach without a ladder.)
Can you acknowledge that the cause of your procrastination is mostly based on fear? There may be other legitimate reasons, but inaction most often boils down to being afraid. See if you can get past your fear, and in Part 2, I will show you how to actually go about finding a planner and what to watch out for.
Remember, fear is only fear. It isn’t real—unlike ghosts, goblins and the monsters that live in children’s closets. Stay tuned for Part 2…