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Money Control PDF Print E-mail
Written by John D. Buerger, CFP®   
Monday, 21 December 2009 14:09
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John Buerger

Is Control Over Your Money Important to YOU?

"Get Control Over Your Money ... Before it Takes Control of Your Life!"

That's the tag line (often called a 'memory hook') when I tell someone I have just met about the work that I do.  It also is the focus of everything we do at ALTUS Wealth Solutions ...

We help people get control over their money.

Whether through a full-fledged financial planning engagement where we create a comprehensive, holistic written strategy covering all aspects of your financial future ... or through asset allocation strategies to help your investments grow while minimizing risk ... or through one of our online-training, evening, day-long or weekend workshops - the focus is on giving you control over your money.

We have developed industry leading tools like our Cash Flow Hydrant™, the Wealth Health Check-Up™, our proprietary Wealth Health Index™ (available on this website for free) and R-Cubed™ analysis - all to help people like you make smarter choices with your money every day.

What Does Control Over Your Money Feel Like?

Less Stress and Fewer Worries.

That's what being in control over your money feels like.  It may sound like a beer commercial, but making smart choices with your money feels really good.  You start to get more of the things in life that are important to you AND you gain confidence in yourself and your decisions.

Those sleepless nights where you wake up worrying about money ... they stop.

Arguments with your spouse over money (#1 cause of divorce after infidelity) ... go away.

You'll even start reversing your hair loss ... OK, maybe not that last one (although you won't be pulling out as much of your hair every month).

The best part of getting control over your money comes from the extra confidence you get.  That confidence snowballs your efforts to make even more, better financial decisions.  You'll strive for even bigger financial goals and attain them more quickly.

Getting Started

The actual process of getting control over your money is really pretty simple ... but it isn't necessarily easy.

First you must be willing to face your current financial reality - warts and all.  It isn't always easy to be honest with yourself about where things are going poorly.  It also may not be easy (depending on your personality) to be honest with yourself even about where you are doing well.

"The Truth will set you free.  Anything less will set you up!"

I've done dozens of Wealth Health Check-Up™ appointments this year alone and find people are pleasantly surprised to learn where they are doing well (and didn't know it) just as often as they find out where things are worse than they thought.  Sometimes the truth is painful, but all progress begins with the truth.

Nobody can have any success in fixing your problems until you are ready to admit that you have problems that need to be fixed.  The doctor can't do anything until you admit that you're sick. 

The same thing goes with your money.

Step Two - Be Ready for Change

The other major stumbling block that prevents most people from reaching this financially induced nirvana is the stubborn refusal to accept change.

"If you keep on doing what you've always done ...
... you'll keep on getting what you've already got" - W.L. Bateman

The problem is that very few people actually like change.  Change is unnerving and uncomfortable.  The human brain is hardwired to go into alert mode when we sense change.  That alert mode is often followed by an instinctive reaction to pull away from the change and stick with the perceived safety of the status quo.

Unfortunately, as Albert Einstein noted, "the definition of insantity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result." 

If you want different results in your financial life ... you have to be willing to accept change in your process for dealing with money.  That means changing how you think about money, how you treat it and even how you feel about many money decisions.

Are you ready to make that change?

Step Three - Get Help

Every one of the greatest athletes in the world has someone else who coaches them.  Even Tiger Woods, the greatest golfer who ever lived, has a coach.  Do you think that coach is a better golfer than Tiger?  No way.  But the third party perspective from someone who is there to help you is the difference between satisfactory and excellence.

Note - Tiger Woods did not have personal life coach or relationship coach ... Too bad, because he certainly could have used one.

When it comes to financial help, you do need to be sure you are working with an advisor who has set your best interests as their priority.  We call this a "fiduciary" advisor.  Most people who are in financial services are NOT fiduciary advisors.  They are salespeople.

Work only with a person who has a written Code of Ethics that states in writing that they adhere to a Fiduciary Standard of Care.  All CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designees are required (in order to use the CFP® mark) to be a fiduciary for their clients.  Investment firms that operate under SEC supervision (called Registered Investment Advisor firms) also adhere to the fiduciary standard.

Those that operate under FINRA do NOT have to be fiduciaries.  Their recommendations only need to be "appropriate" which is a warm and fuzzy word that means almost nothing to you.  If you see the phrase "Securities sold through ..." on their business card, the advisor is NOT a fiduciary.  In fact he has more of an obligation to the company whose products he sells than he does to you.

Step Four - Take Action and Stick To It

Having really cool tools, a written strategy and a fiduciary advisor to guide you is all well and good - but you will have absolutely terrible results if YOU don't take action and execute the strategy.

Remember, you will be taking actions that are different from what you have done in the past.  You will be implementing CHANGES in your decision-making process.  Change isn't easy and it goes against every (bad) habit you have developed over all these years of your life.  We've worked hard to develop tools that make this transition easier, but it is still a transition.

Fortunately, habits can be broken in a lot less time than it takes to create them.  For most people, new financial habits can be firmly in place within 30-45 days.  The greatest amount of effort to stick to the new program must be made in the first few weeks.  After two months, the hardest work will be done.

Let me know (through comments or an email) if there is any way I can help YOU get control over your money and find your way to a life with less stress and fewer worries.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 March 2010 16:57