There are many excuses why people avoid financial planning. Some are very creative and way out there, but most are reasonable. A financial planner’s job is to help the client work around their excuses and prepare for their future.
As much as I hate to admit it, part of a financial planner’s job includes selling. Anyone who works in sales knows that to be successful you must talk to people. Of course, all of us experience our share of rejections and, most of the time, people are nice about it.
They’ll usually brush you off asking you to contact them later, completely ignore you, or give an excuse. The top three excuses I hear most often relate to fear, time, and their funds.
The number one excuse why people avoid financial planning is fear.
It’s easy to assume this is the fear of losing money in the stock market. However, I think our fears run deeper. Yes, the fear of loss is a real issue in all parts of our life, not just our financial situation.
Many studies have shown our emotional reaction is stronger when we lose compared to the joys we feel when we win. For example, a college coach can win 95 out of 100 games. That’s a pretty good record, right?
I promise you there will be “experts” on social media wanting the coach fired for those 5 losses. I’m as competitive as the next person, but we can’t win at everything all of the time. If we all succeed at everything, then wouldn’t success lose its value?
It’s interesting to consider traits like effort and perseverance experiencing inflation. If we won at everything would we reach a point where we no longer have a desire to try? Sometimes we need to lose!
Losing can have benefits, especially with your financial plan. When we invest, our attitude should be that we can lose some battles in order to win the war. This is where your trusted financial planner is the real help.
We clearly define your goal by stating that you need a certain amount by a certain time in the future. No, we cannot guarantee high, or even positive, returns each day. However, we can keep you on a track that gives you the best chance to reach your reasonable goals.
We’ll also be there to help ease your fear of loss. Then we can keep you disciplined during troubled times. Selling out of fear can be one of the biggest mistakes you can make.
Personally, I think our industry focuses too much on the fear of losing. That’s why we give clients all of the disclosure paperwork. Of course, this is necessary because some bad people have ripped off clients. I think most people already realize the market can go up and down. Sure, they’re afraid of losing their money, but if we think honestly about it, our money is lost on many things.
For example, sometimes I’ll order something only to find out I cannot use the product. Nothing is wrong with it, but the product may not be the best fit in my life with a disability. Returning it is inconvenient, so I’ll give it away or throw it in a closet.
I’m sure most of us have similar stories. We justify that loss because we receive a tangible product, but if you can’t use it does it really have any value? Sounds like you lost money on that investment to me.
Yes, each time we spend money we are technically investing. Sometimes all we receive is a learning experience. Each person is different, but I think we can get to the root of individual fears by actually getting to know the client.
I think for most of us, the public finding out we made a mistake is the real fear we face. Unfortunately, people tend to be more likely to criticize others instead of encourage them. It may hurt your feelings to be embarrassed, but it’s acceptable to fail.
Fear of failure is very real and I think it often prevents some of us from trying anything. I can’t promise financial planning will allow you to reach all of your goals, but I know for a fact that you won’t achieve anything if you don’t try!
The number two excuse why people avoid financial planning is time.
As with fear, there are a few ways time can be a factor in a person’s decision to start financial planning.
The first excuse I most often hear from people is that they don’t have any time to prepare for their future. They want to wait until their life calms down, which we know will never happen.
Each day there will be something new taking up your free time. Unfortunately, that is just the nature of today’s nonstop culture. Yes, you’re absolutely right; you don’t have time.
One day I did an experiment where I monitored my time. Having a disability requires me to do certain things a certain way for a certain amount of time each day. Maintaining my health is a full time job in itself.
I wanted to see how much time I had each day where I could be productive. By that I mean actually working, not just being at the office, but being engaged in financial planning. Even with working from home, I had about five hours of productive working time.
I encourage you to do the same experiment. Look at each day and think about the free time you have available for financial planning. If you have two hours of free time each day, then you may be able to handle your own financial planning. If not, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Even before I started my financial planning practice, I found it interesting how quick we are to outsource our service needs for many things. Don’t believe me? Here are some examples.
We trust people to maintain our yards and homes. We let strangers shop for and deliver our groceries. When we don’t want to drive, we let strangers be our chauffeurs. Of course, we also don’t doctor or represent ourselves in legal matters.
There are so many times in which we trust our lives to people we don’t know because they help us save time. However, we are hesitant to use a financial planner. Why is that?
A financial planner should be given the same status as these other professionals. You are absolutely correct; you don’t have time to prepare for your future. The responsible move after having too much alcohol at a bar is to trust another driver to get you home safely. A financial planner is the safe way to prepare for your future.
The other time related excuse is more of a question. When is the right time to invest? Timing the market in the hopes of achieving high returns rarely works out for investors.
One day I asked my pastor which translation of the Bible is the best one? He said, “The best version is the one you’re reading.” All that matters is that you are reading the Bible.
I feel the same way about investing. The best time for you to start investing is now! That doesn’t mean as you’re reading this, like some magic hour will make you rich. The stock market is always moving, so consistent, disciplined investing according to a plan is normally the best way to reach your goals. Investing is a long game, not a get rich quick scheme.
The third excuse why people avoid financial planning is a lack of funds.
I saved the best for last because of all of the excuses I hear when I discuss financial planning, a lack of funds is my favorite. This is an understandable excuse because, unfortunately, financial services can be an industry that caters to the wealthy. Some advertisements even tell the audience not to contact them unless they have at least $500,000!
It’s easy to see how a young, middle class family feels they aren’t worthy of consulting a financial planner. No, some firms won’t talk to you, but I will. An architect draws a blueprint BEFORE the house is built, not after.
Just because you may lack a portfolio doesn’t mean you can’t plan to build one! Look at my services and you’ll see an option where you pay a monthly fee. This is designed to teach clients good financial management habits.
There are tons of stories where wealthy celebrities and athletes have gone broke. Sometimes the amount of money is not as important as the responsible management of the money. I can teach you the difference.
Even though you may not be rich, you can still live a life that isn’t controlled by money. You manage your money; it does not manage you. Reaching that point is the first step to building wealth and I’ll be glad to be a part of your journey.
Conclusion: Top Three excuses why people avoid financial planning.
I’ve always enjoyed reading books about successful people. However, I seem to get more out of their biographies than I do from their leadership, self-help, or investment advice books. Sure, all of those books are good too, but the biography tells me more about the road they traveled.
When I see that Walt Disney was basically homeless at certain points while chasing his dreams, I get the courage to keep chasing mine. If nobody worked with him until he was wealthy, would we even know who Walt Disney was today? There may not be a Mickey Mouse or the countless other forms of entertainment that were inspired by Disney! What a boring world that would be!
I’m on Social Security disability and I cannot have more than $2,000 to my name at any given time. No financial planner would give me the time of day if I went to a big firm. I don’t want anyone to feel left out like that. Not having a large nest egg at the start shouldn’t keep you from building your future.
When people start a new business, consultants often tell them to pay themselves first. The same concept can be used in personal finance as well. Today almost anything can be financed through loans, mortgages, or credit card debt. When managed properly, debt can be a tool. One thing that you cannot get funding for is your retirement. You have to plan for it!
I’ll be glad to help you chase your dreams. We may not reach your goals, but we can at least try. Stop hiding behind the excuses and email me.