An advisor in our firm was recently introduced to a prospective client, “John Jones”, who approached the initial meeting with a lot of skepticism.  The advisor was introduced to John as a Financial Advisor who could help John and his wife through comprehensive planning.  John was skeptical about the value the advisor could add to his situation due to the fact that he felt confident that he had taken care of every financial need that he and his wife could possibly have.  He had met with several other ‘advisors’ over the years and had amassed an impressive array of products and services.  As a result, John dragged his feet, resisted meeting with the advisor and put off a meeting until the advisor, professionally, convinced John that it would be worth his while to at least have a face to face conversation.  After that initial conversation, John agreed to engage the advisor and hire him to create a comprehensive financial plan.

What ultimately caused John to meet with the advisor and engage him to write a financial plan for him and his wife, Sarah, was the fact that although they had many products and services, none of these products and services were synchronized or worked in concert.  In fact, many of the financial professionals hired to recommend products and services were actually in competition with one another and weren’t truly looking out for John and Sarah’s overall best interests.  Sure they handled their engagements with John and Sarah professionally and were ‘nice guys’, but due to a lack of knowledge, training or bandwidth through their firm, they actually put the Jones family in a precarious situation.  With all this said, they had helped John and Sarah create a “Financial Junk Drawer”.

Just mentioning the phrase “junk drawer” brings to mind the one drawer in everybody’s house or office that contains all of the odds and ends that we don’t know what to do with.  A recent junk drawer survey revealed the following:  paper clips, old pens, gum wrappers, throat lozenges, miscellaneous sticky notes, tooth picks, phone charger cords, pennies, rubber bands, and a lot of other things that were simply taking up space.  Imagine applying this randomness to one’s personal finances!  For John and Sarah, this resulted in several life and accidental death insurance policies from different companies with different term dates, multiple annuities of the same type from different companies, a random array of mutual funds and stocks and no idea of how to generate the income that they would need in retirement.  When asked who helped them with their financial decisions, they truly couldn’t pinpoint one particular person.

The advisor provided value and impact to John and Sarah’s life by first reviewing what they truly felt was financially important in their lives.  Next, the advisor spent time educating John and Sarah on all of the different products in their “junk drawer”.  This allowed them to identify gaps and overlapping benefits.  Through some judicious pruning and creative thinking, the Jones’s and their new advisor were able to craft a plan that was more financially efficient, more relevant to John and his Sarah’s goals, and that filled in any gaps that may have previously existed.  As a result, they are much more confident with their financial situation and feel both peace of mind and a sense of security that they are finally on the right track.  In addition, they are extremely grateful to have a caring and compassionate professional who helps and guides them on their lifelong financial journey.

Given the positive result of comprehensive planning and the subsequent feelings of peace and security, why don’t more people actively pursue this type of work?  Here are some reasons that prevent many from taking action to clean out their financial junk drawers:

  • Too much work: It’s true that gathering all of one’s financial documents and baring the skeletons in the closet to a financial expert can be daunting. For some it is simply burdensome and for others it can be perceived as a potentially embarrassing experience.  Understand that a truly comprehensive planner is both compassionate and caring.  He or she really does want to help get and keep things on track in order for their clients to achieve their goals and dreams.
  • Too busy: For some, the thought of gathering financial documents and carving out 6-8 hours seems like a bridge too far. In these cases, cleaning out the financial junk drawer isn’t a priority.  But let’s look at the alternatives: running out of money in retirement because you weren’t aware of how your retirement plan worked; reaching the end of the term of your life insurance and realizing that you really and truly still need coverage; becoming sick or hurt and not having enough money to both pay the bills and to still put away for retirement; or, the worst scenario, living a long healthy life perpetually short on the money needed to have true quality of life.
  • I’ll do it later: As in all things, procrastination is not a friend or ally when it comes to financial planning.  The longer that somebody waits to begin this type of work, the fewer options one actually has.  Just like cleaning up your home’s junk drawer, the more stuff piled in it, the longer it takes to take care of it.  A competent financial professional can help make this type of work easy and efficient.

If you are ready to roll up your sleeves and begin cleaning up your financial junk drawer, we are here to help.  Contact us today to meet one of our professionals with the experience and expertise to provide the answers you need.

Securities, Investment Advisory and Financial Planning Services offered through qualified registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC, Member SIPC, 12 Cadillac Drive, Suite 440, Brentwood, TN  37027 (615) 309-6300.  Continuum Planning Partners is not a subsidiary or affiliate of MML Investors Services, LLC or it affiliated companies. CRN201711-197561 

Continuum Planning Partners Post Author
Bavy Lopez

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