Financial Planning:  Asking for Help

Humility – Asking for help with financial management.

There are millions of websites telling you about financial management and it will be difficult for me to pull the audience away from those sites.  I have a degree in finance and still look at those articles myself, so I don’t fault you at all for going to Google and finding a quick answer to your questions about money.

Instead of telling you HOW to do things, maybe we should start looking at WHY we do things.  Behavioral finance is becoming a major buzzword in the financial services industry.  I find it very interesting because it helps me understand my clients.

We can run numbers all day long, but if we don’t understand our clients’ feelings and personal goals, then they’re less likely to implement our suggestions.  Plus, I refuse to believe that greed is the only

motivator for people to manage their finances.  Money is a tool and nothing more!

One of the best financial self-help books you can read is the Bible.  Yes, you read that right.  There are over 2,300 mentions of money in the Bible, so obviously financial management has always been important.  It also tells me financial management has always been a problem for people.

Earlier this year I asked my pastor to give me some ideas for more faith-based blog topics because I want to dig deeper into why people have always struggled with financial management.  He pointed me to “The Fruits of the Spirit” in Galations 5.  This chapter has a lot to do with self-control, which is vital to financial management.

Over the next few months, let’s look at some of these characteristics and how they impact our financial situations. 

Although humility is not listed as one of the “Fruits of the Spirit,” it is definitely a result.

Have you ever heard a word used so often and in so many different ways that you don’t really know what it means?  For me, humility is one of those words.  Google it and you’ll find the simple definition of “a modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness.” 

That’s not a fun definition for our “Hey look at me” society is it?  From just a Biblical perspective, I think humility is the great reminder that God is first and we’re just a part of His great plan.  We are never greater than Him.  We are also neither greater nor less than our fellow man.  Yes, it can be a downer to our ego, but sometimes we need that reality check.

When I look at humility through a financial lens I consider it as being willing to ask for help.  We’re quick to ask for help in many things, but we rarely ask for help when it comes to financial management.

Why don’t we ask for help with financial management?

I think part of the issue comes from how we were raised.  Sometimes, I still feel like a bright-eyed kid fresh out of college.  I’m finally in a career that I love, which I spent all of college training for, so I guess that makes a little sense.  However, the reality is that I’ve been out of college for 18 years.

The question we all should be asking at 40 is, after working for 18 years, do we have enough put away to be on track for retirement?  If we consider a typical career to be 30 years, then we have already worked over half of that!  Have we been saving in a 401(k) or IRA during that time?  Or have we been waiting until “all of the other stuff” is taken care of before thinking about the future?

I think the biggest secret to preparing for retirement is time.  By putting away smaller amounts over time, we are less likely to require saving large amounts as we approach retirement age.  The government even allows you to put more away in the later years because they know we are unprepared for retirement.  It’s actually called a “catch up contribution” as they automatically assume that we’re going to be behind!

Why don’t we know the importance of maximizing our time before it’s too late?  Sure, there are always different reasons for our struggles, but in my house it was rude to talk to people about money.  You didn’t ask how much someone was paid, what something costs, and there was no way I could ask someone about their net worth.

I definitely agree with my parents that money is a confidential subject and should only be discussed with professionals, but I worry that we may have carried that too far.  I’m finding that many people my age struggle with their financial situation often because they just didn’t know what they should do.  It’s not that they did anything “wrong,” but that they could have done a little better by taking different directions during the process.

Instead of going around your butt to get to your elbow, why not ask for help?  Email me and I’ll be glad to help you.

Admitting that we need help usually means there’s a possibility that we did something wrong.

The second reason why we don’t ask for help is that human beings hate being wrong.  We REALLY hate it when others find out!

Instead of admitting we struggle, we hide it by getting mortgages and car loans we can’t afford or amass crippling credit card debt.  Now, I am a huge fan of credit cards, BUT they must be used properly.  I’m glad to help you learn about them.  Email me.

Also, you don’t have to have your dream home or car at first.  That may be a goal you reach later in life.  The people you’re worrying about impressing with this “success” won’t be around long anyway as they’ll be distracted by another shiny object soon.  I don’t mean to talk bad about your friends, but when people care about what you HAVE they don’t care about YOU.

An interesting fact about investors is that normally we feel the pain of losing at a higher level than the joy of winning. 

It would be awful if someone found out we were wrong, right?  When you were a child, were you more excited to share a good grade or were you more afraid of telling your parents you failed?  I definitely didn’t want to tell my parents I did bad!

Investing has risks and we all lose sometimes, but you can’t win if you aren’t in the game.  Look at baseball players.  They stand alone in front of the world during each at bat for a chance to succeed or fail.  A player with a .300 career batting average can get in the Hall of Fame and be remembered forever, but to have that average means the player FAILED in 7 out of 10 at bats.

Could someone in any other career still be loved after so many failures?  Maybe a meteorologist, but that’s about it!  My point is that we should never be afraid to fail.  We should be afraid to try!

Finally, we don’t want to ask for help because we worry how people will respond to our intelligence (Or lack of intelligence). 

How often do you talk to a younger person and have to Google a word they said?  Of course, you can’t ask the person and risk them laughing at you!  Why we feel the shame of not knowing what a made up word means to a kid will always baffle me, but don’t tell them I said that!  I must keep my cool points!

These worries can carry over to things that really matter in our lives as well, such as financial management.  We want to be seen as adults who know how to handle our money.  After all, adults are supposed to know this stuff.  There are so many financial management courses in our standard high school curriculums, so adult life will be easy, right? (Sarcasm)

Yes, everything you can ever want to know about managing your money can be found online.  Hiring a professional is expensive, right?  If you’re only looking at the price, it may seem like a lot, but look at the entire picture.

In the time it takes to learn everything about financial management you could miss seeing your children grow up or even lose your marriage.  When you look back in life will you be glad you saved that 1.5% investment management fee if it costs you most of the joys of life?  You may hit a home run with one stock, but are those bragging rights worth the other strike outs you’ll experience?

When we decide the value of something, we have to see more than just a number.  By paying a financial professional you’re buying peace of mind and you’re buying yourself time.  I can learn how to grow a garden online, but I would rather just buy veggies at the market and spend my time doing things I enjoy.

The fact is that we only get one shot at this existence and we need to put our egos aside. 

We need to be willing to ask for help!  Others have many talents that we lack and we provide our talents to them as we assist each other in this journey we call life.

Even Jesus, who can do whatever He wants, asked for help.  The disciples helped spread the Gospel during His life and we are called to continue spreading the Gospel today.  In battle, Moses required help in holding his arms up in the air.  Nehemiah couldn’t build the wall by himself.  Ruth would have never met Boaz if he didn’t help the less fortunate.  There are many examples in the Bible of people requiring the help of others in order to be successful in their God given missions.

I can argue that almost every person we admire had to receive help from others along the way.  The greatest athletes had coaches and someone to get them to events.  Business leaders had employees that helped the vision of the business become a reality.

They all have family and friends supporting them behind the scenes, which is something we can never forget.  We normally see the success after it happens, so we must remember the process the person endured to reach their achievements.  Everyone needs help.

If we each held the weight of the world on our shoulders individually, we would crumble.  When we help each other there are few limits to what we can accomplish.  Having the humility to realize we don’t have all the answers can be a humbling experience, but it can also provide us with the clarity we need to pursue our goals.

Email me and let me help!


Jonathan Greeson is located west of 117 and south of E. Main St.
Jonathan Greeson is located west of 117 and south of E. Main St.

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Pikeville, NC 27863