I often say that the topic of money can easily become an emotional third rail, because the mere mention of money can elicit a variety of emotions - confusion, shame, euphoria, even indifference. Sometimes, we let this tornado of emotions keep us from seeking advice, because we think we should know all the answers; it is our money after all. However, many of us lack a solid foundation about how to approach money and our personal finances. Personal finance is rarely taught in school (although sorely needed). Money can often be a taboo topic to discuss among friends, and sometimes, even our families.
If you don’t have a formal financial education and are unable to talk openly with friends and family, why do you think you should know it all? Do me (and Carrie Bradshaw) a favor and stop “should-ing” all over yourself.
Don’t let your fear of not knowing something prevent you from seeking advice. “I don’t know” and “I’m not sure what to ask” are perfectly valid answers when a financial advisor poses the question, “what would you like to discuss today?”. In fact, it’s normal not to know what to ask. I’m glad you don’t think you have it all figured out; it makes my job more fun. But do know that even if you feel like you don’t know anything, you actually do; you just don’t realize it. There is a difference between not knowing and not knowing yet.
When I meet with my clients, I want to talk about your goals, what excites you, and what keeps you up at night. Did you hear me say that I want to spend all our time looking at numbers or dwelling on graphs and equations? No, because meeting with a financial advisor like me is not about attending a math class. Personal finance is not math. You do not have to be good at math or even good with numbers to nail your personal finances. Repeat this with me, personal finance is not math. If I do my job well, through our conversations and listening to how you feel about your finances and what you want to achieve in the next 6 months or 6 years, you will realize that you have most of the answers to these questions. I’ll show you how your money can help you achieve these goals, and together, we can remove the emotional baggage from your finances.
As you go through life, your financial plans and goals will evolve, grow, and possibly completely change. You may feel like you have it all figured out and then suddenly, you’re at a loss for what to do next. A good financial planner can help you navigate that curvy road. In this season of thanksgiving, give yourself some grace and remove the shoulds from your financial vocabulary. Consider talking to someone about your personal finances; it can only help. Ready to stop should-ing? Contact Anne Simpson (email@example.com) to discuss your current financial situation and where your finances could take you.