Thursday, October 24, 2013

Out of touch...

Once upon a time at the end of the work week, men and women would stand at the payroll window and receive an envelope of cash as payment for the hours they worked at any given job.

Some would go out and celebrate, some go shopping and some would go home where they would parcel out the cash into a series of envelopes: food, rent, doctor, gas & electric, telephone, emergency, vacation. One wouldn't dare touch the rent money! If there were any money left over, it was spent on fun.

We have lost touch with money.
Direct deposit of paychecks, credit cards, wire transfers, etc. all have removed us from the physical touch of money. We're not sure how much we make nor are we sure of what we spend. Money has become ethereal and elusive.

Try these two exercises to put you more in touch:

The next time you plan to eat out, take only the amount of money you intend to spend that evening. NO CREDIT CARDS - $35, $65, $100. As you order be aware of the cost of each item and factor in the tip. Can you "afford" another glass of wine, a second dessert or a cappuccino? With your credit card you wouldn't have a second thought and often spend more than you intend.

For two weeks track your ATM withdrawals.
On the back of each ATM receipt write down every purchase you make with that withdrawal - to the dollar! You might find you are suddenly aware of how you spend your money.

Once you get back in touch then you can make wise $ decisions.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

"What's this going to cost me? How do you get paid?"

These are two simple questions that should automatically roll off your lips when you are involved in any financial transaction.

We are not afraid to ask the plumber, auto repairman or electrician. Why do we find it so hard to ask our broker, financial advisor or insurance salesperson?

If we go back to last week's Tip: "nobody cares about your money as much as you do" these questions make perfect sense. We need to know the cost - the upfront, visible and the hidden costs of buying anything. It's part of taking care of our money.

Everything has a cost. We can only know if we are "getting a deal" or being "taken" if we know the cost. Then we can seek a comparison.

Before your next encounter with your financial advisor or insurance broker practice asking those two important questions. Say them in the shower. Say them as you drive. Say them while taking a walk. Say them so often they just fall out of your mouth automatically. They show you care about your money.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Nobody cares about your money more than you do!

Many times folks will tell me: "my financial advisor never calls me" or "my broker only calls when she/he wants me to buy something".

The goal of a broker or financial advisor is to bring in more money. They get credit for "assets under managemennt" (AUM); the more the better. It's like any other relationship, the wining, dining, courtship - then the disillusionment. Once your account has been opened and your money deposited, the broker moves on to find more (new) money.

But like any other relationship, it must be viewed as having two sides. How often do you call your broker or financial advisor? Don't worry about taking up their time. Don't be concerned if you can't think of a reason to call.
YOUR MONEY is the most valid reason!

When you receive your quarterly statement use that as a signal to make the call.
Ask: "How am I doing?"
"Will I have enough to retire?"
"Is this investment strategy working?"
"What could we do differently?"
"What will happen to my investments now that interest rates have started to rise?"

When your broker or FA hears from you on a regular basis it puts them on notice. It tells them you care about your money enough to check in and see what's happening. It makes them work harder.