In no particular order, here’s a few interesting things I heard and read recently that I wanted to share:
Show Clients Their Spending Habits (Financial Advisor Magazine, by Mitch Anthony)
I learned an interesting way to have the “budgeting” conversation with clients. Honestly, not many clients enjoy having the “budgeting” conversation at all…but I learned about a potentially better way to have the discussion. It’s about this concept of “Owe-Grow-Live Give” that I got from industry expert Mitch Anthony. The concept really helps simplify and recognize how they are using their money. In the simplest of forms, I always told people there were two uses of money – you spend it (while alive) or you give it (alive or when you die). Taking it a step further, the Owe-Grow-Live-Give philosophy is fairly self-explanatory, i.e. these are categories you can link to ever dollar that you are spending. I created a spreadsheet which I can share as well, but the results I see are very similar across all clients: most people (not surprisingly) are “living” on the bulk of their money, with very little “growing” and even less “giving”. The best part about this exercise is the next step. Once people see how their money is being used…we pose the question “If you randomly find $10,000 in the street, how would you allocate that amongst your categories?” This really forces to see where they are, versus where they would want to go… and makes budgeting an entirely different conversation. Talk to me about it!
Health Insurance: The Scary Hole In America’s Financial Plans (Forbes.com, By Allan S. Roth, Next Avenue Contributor)
True story: I just got my health insurance renewal letter for 2018 and the company wants to increase my premium…uh-hmmm…clear my throat…+72%. That is not a typo, so just to make sure – it is seventy-two percent higher from last year. Based on what I had been hearing, I was bracing for an increase but the healthy young man typing this nearly fell off the chair when reading this news. Once I wrap my arms around the situation and gather my available options, I will be forced to make a tough decision….as most of Americans will also be doing. I don’t have the solution for our healthcare issues, so I won’t be writing letters to Congress..but this is getting out of hand. The attached article from Next Avenue makes some good points – which are astonishing to say the least. I do agree that our healthcare spending is too much a portion of GDP and most likely rising at unsustainable levels. My worry is that people who are doing their retirement planning may be underestimating what their cost of healthcare will be in retirement. This makes my job (and my conversations with clients) challenging, so hopefully a solution arrives soon and costs start to reverse course.
The Power of Introverts (Ted Talk, by Susan Cain)
I stumbled across an interesting podcast this week which interviewed Susan Cain, who instantly changed the way I view the world. She wrote a bestselling book talking about the power of introverts (which I am sure is great and goes in to detail), but she delivered this Ted talk which has been viewed nearly 18 million times since 2012. I have always shared the common beliefs that Susan described, that the most productive and successful people were extroverts…and that introverts were inferior. Well, I learned that the complete opposite can be true. And, I learned a new word this week – many people (perhaps myself) are considered “ambiverts”…in between those two extremes. I can be outgoing and socialize with the best of them, but I also cherish my alone time and do some of my best work working in isolation. Susan’s research/talk really empowers people to be honest with themselves and do the things that are most energizing and sustaining to them. It’s different for everybody. But I know one thing: I confidently will no longer second guess my desire to work on my own and do my best to uncover my best “deep thoughts”. In fact, it’s probably best for everyone to practice this on occasion…even for extroverts!
Enjoy the light reading/listening!