New Year’s Resolutions for Your Financial Health
By Alicia Wanek | Staff Writer
Happy New Year! One of my resolutions (again) is to clean out my kids’ closets. Getting in shape is probably on a lot of our New Year’s resolutions lists, too. Maybe you’ve already purchased a gym membership and have plans to start going on some sort of regular basis each week. The fact is, if you hire a personal trainer or meet with a dietitian, you will be much more likely to stick with your plan for the long haul and not peter out by, say… February 12th. Why not do the same for your financial resolutions? Bryan Camper, certified financial planner and wealth advisor with Camper Rogers, likens his services to that of a personal trainer. By hiring someone to help you meet your individual goals, you add a level of accountability to keep you on the right path. In order to achieve your financial resolutions, stick to the following pieces of advice.
You’ve got to be an open book. Bryan reminds us, “It’s like a relationship with your doctor. You’ve got to tell him or her everything, so he can ‘prescribe’ the best treatment. You may have tried to treat it all yourself for a while, but ultimately you need a professional. Asset management means a lot more than investments, and the professionals make it their priority to stay current in all aspects of financial planning.”
Wealth management isn’t just for the wealthy. “The people I can help most professionally,” Bryan says, “are the ones who may not have accumulated a lot of assets yet but are 35, 45, or even 55 and want to be on the right track.” If you want to be a good steward of your own financial resources, you can benefit from the services of a financial planner.
Don’t wait. Keep those resolutions while they’re still fresh. Bobby Davidson, local independent insurance agent/owner of Davidson Insurance Services, says, “It’s best to do your planning while you’re healthy.” Not only do you get better rates, but you also have a lot of options in life insurance policies, and the younger and healthier you are, the more you have to choose from. “People need life insurance for different reasons,” Bobby says. A professional like Bobby can make sure the insurance portion of your financial plan fits your individual goals.
Make sure the financial professionals you hire are people you trust and that your personalities work well together. After all, this is a long-term commitment on both sides. Ultimately, you want to establish a working relationship with your financial advisors, and it all starts with a good bank. The term “Relationship Banking” means exactly what it implies: an individual, family, or business has an actual “relationship” with their bank and/or banker. Chuck Cowell, Dallas Market Chairman of Guaranty Bank, says “In an age where many financial transactions are performed electronically or online, it is becoming increasingly rare that the average individual actually knows a banker and vice versa. While this is a very efficient way to conduct transactional business with your bank, what about when you actually need financial advice or have an emergency? How many people actually have a ‘Trusted Advisor’ when it comes to their finances? The Guaranty Bank & Trust executives know their customers on a first name basis. We know their husbands, wives, families, their business, etc. We go to church, school, little league, and soccer games with our clients.”
Establish a relationship with all of the advisors who help you manage your financial resources so they will have a vested interest in helping you prepare for your future. Wills and trust attorney Colin Smith believes that rapport is key. His practice, largely focused on business and estate planning, especially living trusts, focuses first on getting to know the client. Colin’s ability to connect with people, along with his experience and keen sensitivity to their needs, feelings, and situations, sets him apart. “It goes without saying that these are delicate, difficult, and important end-of-life decisions that require finesse and wisdom,” says Colin.
Life happens. Bryan reminds us that a financial plan is static. “It’s like a road map, but the roads are changing,” he says. The destination may stay the same, but you may have to adjust your route along the way. Regular meetings with professionals can help you adapt.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful come the end of the year to say you’d accomplished all the resolutions you set now? At least there are professionals who can help us with all our financial goals. Think they’d help me with my closets?
Guaranty Bank & Trust: www.gnty.com
Camper Rogers: www.camperrogers.com
Davidson Insurance Services: www.davidsoninsuranceagency.com
Colin Smith Law: ColinSmithLaw.com
You should have periodic updates to your financial plan, even without a major life-changing event, to ensure you’re on track. However, some situations are indicators that you should re-evaluate right away:
Benefits and retirement plans may change as well as salary. Consider how that impacts your retirement planning and investments.
Children going to or graduating from college
You’re probably ready to use some of the funds you’ve been setting aside for just this reason, or it’s time to re-prioritize your resources for the “what’s next?” phase of life.
Illness, accident, or death
Any of these can trigger an adjustment to the existing financial plan.
Each spouse will now need their own financial goals and a plan to get there.
Bryan Camper , Camper Rogers