Why We Do What We Do and Why It Matters
Pierce Financial Strategies, LLC is a comprehensive, fee only, financial planning firm located in St. Louis, MO. As part of our coordinated financial planning process, we help our clients with retirement planning, college education planning, tax planning and investment strategy. We also integrate insurance and estate planning reviews into our financial planning process as well as cash flow analysis and sound record keeping principles. Did I mention that we do goal setting as well?
That’s a lot of services but why do we do what we do and, more importantly, why does it matter?
In Discovery Appointments, the free initial consultations that I hold with potential new clients who are interested in learning more about what we do, I’m often asked why I’m in this business. Why did I become a financial planner?
What I always hope comes through in my response is this: I do what I do because I love it and because I genuinely want to help people make smart financial decisions. It’s really that simple.
The fact is, we live in an incredibly complex financial world. Our dense tax laws might give Albert Einstein pause and the investment landscape is constantly changing. Guaranteed pensions, for the most part, are a thing of the past, making the retirement funds that we build and, consequently, the quality of life that we’ll have in retirement, completely up to us. College tuition keeps rising at a rapid clip – much higher than what we think of as the “normal” rate of inflation. At the same time, the mechanics of the college financial aid system can be bewildering.
To make matters worse, we are all human beings subject to making poor decisions based upon how we’re feeling on a given day. Most of us can count several bad habits that we just can’t seem to break on our own. All of us have only so many hours in the day to devote to our loved ones, our careers and our other true interests. In a world of complex financial decision making, how many smart decisions can we really make on our own?
Unless, of course, you devote your career to financial planning and are devoted to offering smart, objective advice (As a Fee Only planner, I do not sell any financial products. The only revenue I receive is from my clients. I believe this keeps my advice as objective as possible). That’s me. That’s what I do. And that’s why I do what I do. I love solving complex financial problems and helping people navigate through the many financial decisions they must make as their lives play out. It’s a dynamic process and I find it personally rewarding and highly enjoyable.
But what about you? Why should all of this matter to you? Let me offer three significant reasons why it might matter:
- Working with a financial planner can feel really good. I’ve been told that people think of financial planners like dentists – they’re not someone that people want to see unless they’re in a lot of pain. Maybe that’s true and maybe it’s because there have been too many scandal-ridden people in the business, too many Bernie Madoff’s. But this negative view has not been my experience at all. I’ve seen clients renewed and energized, happy to be making significant progress toward their goals and excited to be educated about how things work in the world of personal finance.
- Did I say “making significant progress toward their goals?” I recently attended a seminar in which the speaker, Ronald Sier of the Netherlands, said that 97% of people have no goals. 97%! That’s a shame because having true, meaningful goals inevitably leads us toward achieving them. We may stumble along the way, but we tend to find a path to get to where we want to go. Part of my approach to financial planning is to help my clients discover what they most value and where they most want to go. For many people this simply isn’t possible to do on their own. They need an outside person to help them ask the right questions and see what they can’t see. Setting goals and putting a plan in place to reach them can be very powerful – even life changing.
- Working with a financial planner can reduce your Tylenol PM intake. Yes, it’s true. Many people are suffering through intense headaches and sleepless nights trying to figure out how to handle a significant financial problem, like paying for their kids’ college education without jeopardizing their own retirement. The problem is, the longer they wait to address their worry, the more Tylenol they must take. And their problem doesn’t get any easier to solve. Working with a financial planner like me can provide tremendous relief and peace of mind. Why suffer through what’s worrying you when you can work with a knowledgeable and objective financial advisor who can, as Paul Simon once sang, “ease your mind”?
- Bonus Reason: Getting things done. Most people, if left to their own devices, procrastinate on the things that they don’t feel like doing even if they know they’re important. Estate planning anyone? How about rebalancing your investment portfolio? Working with a comprehensive financial planner can help you deal with the things that you just won’t get to on your own, no matter how important they are to you and your family.
Greg Pierce is a Fee Only financial planner located in St. Louis, MO, who specializes in helping people make smart decisions in retirement planning, college education planning, tax planning, investments and more.