Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"I'm a very smart person; why can't I understand this?"

Working for many years at TIAA-CREF, I heard this question multiple times.
The clients I counseled were all academics, some world renowned.  These truly were very smart people at colleges and universities throughout New York and Connecticut (my territory at that time.)  They would preface our meeting with "I'm a very smart person,.. etc."  alerting me to the fact they were embarrassed at not being able to decipher their monthly statements.

Money evokes heavy emotional reactions.  Some people cannot handle the basic needs of daily living, or spend uncontrolably because of the underlying emotions of money.  Others hold onto money tightly denying themselves pleasures money might bring because they feel they don't deserve it or hold fear of another "great depression". 

Because personal finance and investing use a different language, we find it difficult to comprehend.  Financial service salespersons use this lack of understanding to their advantage.  They talk fast, they use technical terms, they make us feel as if we should understand in order to emphasize their importance. 

As with anything else (doctors, car mechanics, appliance repair) we can submit or we can take the time to learn the terms, search the internet, ask many questions, and get a second opinion before we lay down our hard earned cash.

You are a very smart person - it just takes time and a little effort.
Allow me to teach you the "language of money".