Financial Focus: Your Financial Advisor Can Do Some “Life Coaching”
Life coaches – not surprisingly – strive to improve the quality of life of their clients. And financial professionals essentially embrace the same mission. So, if you decide to hire a financial advisor, you should expect to receive some “coaching” as you work toward all your important objectives, such as sending your kids to college, enjoying a comfortable retirement and leaving a legacy that can benefit the next generation.
What tips from life coaches might you also get from your financial advisor?
Here are a few:
• Create a plan. A life coach can help you create a plan for your future, taking into account your career aspirations, relationships, hobbies, charitable activities and so on. And a financial advisor will also take a “holistic” approach by looking at many elements – including your age, income, family responsibilities and desired retirement lifestyle – to create a long-term investment strategy. Of course, you may need to adjust this strategy in response to changes in your life, but it can still serve as an overall map on your journey toward your financial objectives.
• Identify and prioritize goals. A life coach will help you identify and prioritize your life goals, whether they are personal or professional. And your financial advisor can help you do the same with your financial goals. For example, your goal of retiring comfortably at age 65 may take precedence over your wish to purchase a vacation home. As such, you will need to focus your efforts first on the retirement goal, and then, if it appears likely that you will meet that goal, you can devote the resources necessary for your vacation home by the mountains or the sea. You may even be willing to accept a lesser goal, such as renting, rather than owning, your vacation residence.
• Move beyond your comfort zone. A trained and experienced life coach can help you recognize your perceived limitations – and move beyond them. For instance, if your new job requires that you make many presentations, but you are nervous about public speaking, your life coach may offer techniques to help you get past this fear – to move you out of your “comfort zone,” so to speak. This same scenario could play out in your interactions with your financial advisor. If you happen to be a cautious and risk-averse person by nature, you might be inclined to bring those same traits into the investment arena. But a competent financial advisor – one who truly has your best interests in mind – will likely warn you that you will have trouble achieving your financial objectives if you try to avoid all risk by sticking exclusively with so-called “safe” investments, which do not offer much growth potential. Instead, your advisor will help you incorporate your risk tolerance, along with your time horizon and your short- and long-term goals, to help shape an investment mix appropriate for you. Such a mix may well include those "safe” investments, but it would also contain a reasonable percentage of growth-oriented ones.
Whether it’s self-improvement or your financial future, you can benefit from good coaching – so take full advantage of it.