Kate Stalter, Contributor
Feb. 17, 2021
Plenty of activities are “good for you,” but not always pleasant.
For me, working out at the gym is a long-standing habit that definitely pays off - when I’m consistent, attentive and stick to the right behaviors outside of the gym (ie, eating well!).
Some of these habits also translate to retirement planning and investing.
Get you in the habit: Exercise those muscles. Traditionally, you see this advice applied to retirement saving. While that’s certainly important, as you approach retirement, the habit of planning becomes crucial.
There are some tried-and-true aspects of planning, such as retirement income projections, tax strategy, insurance review and portfolio management. But the actual process and execution is different for every individual, couple or family.
Zero in on what’s important for your situation. Is it portfolio rebalancing? It is de-risking? Is it determining the income you’ll need in retirement (without guessing)?
Just like training at the gym, you’ll have some areas that are stronger and others weaker. For me, I’ve done some extra lifting to build my shoulders and rear deltoids, but my biggest focus is on total fitness.
Even little tweaks and special focus on certain areas of your plan, like getting a good handle on retirement income, will help.
Keeping you consistent: Nobody would say, “I went for a run yesterday, so I’m all set for the next year.”
Instead, you realize that you need to get out there day after day, doing different exercises to work out your muscles and cardiovascular system. You’ll also need to do some flexibility and eat right.
You don’t have to be perfect, which is good, because nobody is!
But as with physical fitness, financial fitness requires consistency. Doesn’t mean spending every evening poring over your financial statements, or tinkering randomly with your investments.
It does mean paying attention to all the components of your financial plan, however. Do you need still need that life insurance policy you purchased years ago, when your life circumstances were different? Do you really need nine different retirement accounts, rather than simplifying and streamlining into one account?
You can’t “set and forget” your investments or any aspects of your financial life. Consistent attention results in a greater chance of a successful outcome.
Getting you focused A couple of decades ago, a financial advisor’s job was picking stocks. That era is long gone, however.
These days, your advisor functions more as a coach. Rather than counting push-ups, your advisor will encourage you to make sound financial decisions, including monitoring your spending and withdrawals. Want to spend $15,000 a year on travel? You may not have the savings for that, and you may have to settle for $7,000.
That’s where coaching comes in. More and more people are accustomed to the concept of coaching for business, fitness and even “life coaching.” The concept of a financial advisor acting as coach, and not stock picker, shouldn’t be shocking to anybody!
In every area of our lives, it’s a constant endeavor to improve. This is where today’s financial advisors can help you get organized and optimized, and better positioned to reach your financial goals.
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