The Financial Planner as a Healer
[This is the most popular post we have published; it’s worth posting again]
Money is a significant source of stress for most people. In many studies, it ranks above issues such as work, children and family. Chronic financial stress is often the leading cause of family break-ups.
Chronic stress is also associated with all sorts of health problems, psychological problems, marriage conflicts and behavior issues such as smoking, excessive drinking, depression and overeating.
Men and women under stress have often relied on medical and mental health professionals. However, financial planners are uniquely positioned to help people address what is likely the number one source of stress in their lives – their relationship with money. Dealing with these issues head-on with a financial planner can lead to improved emotional and physical health, an improvement of work-related problems and improved relationships with family and friends.
A competent and caring financial planner does a great deal more than manage investments or create a financial roadmap. He listens and empathizes with the conflicting issues that people face when attempting to manage their personal finances.
Discussing the issues that cause worry with a financial planner can lead to setting realistic goals, analyzing alternatives, prioritizing actions and implementing an easy-to-follow plan. Just as important, it allows the client and the planner to review progress on a regular basis.
As a result the client gets a sense of personal control over his or her finances. Someone who is in control of their life has much lower stress than someone who feels that events and outside agents control them.
For a relationship between a client and a financial planner to work well together, they must have shared views and expectations of financial planning, financial markets, investment philosophy, and managing risk. An initial meeting between a client and a financial planner should establish a comfort level and determine whether the planner is actually interested in the client, or just the client’s money.
The planner’s goal should be to help their clients organize their financial affairs, and to discuss the client’s past, present and future – including death. The planner should create a level of trust that allows him to keep the client from self-injury, which often results from fear surrounding money. The financial planner should provide a sort of reality check to the client, reducing both excessive pessimism and irrational optimism. A client should feel able to discuss money honestly and openly with their planner without a fear of judgment.
In many ways, a financial advisor can be the confidant to whom you can take your financial concerns … and make it all better.