After a star college football career, a heroic tour in Vietnam, and years of captaining a shrimping boat, Forrest Gump received some wonderful news from Lieutenant Dan, his wartime superior and peacetime business partner. In his own words, Forrest relayed the news to an incredulous stranger on a bus stop bench, "I got a call from him, saying we don't have to worry about money no more. And I said that's good! One less thing."
For most of us, money isn't just "one more thing" to worry about. It's often the source of some of our deepest anxieties. To make matters worse, the amount of mental energy taken up by worries related to money create an incredible drag on our happiness and well-being.
Most of us will never receive an unexpected windfall like Forrest, so understanding the root cause of our worries is the first step we must take towards alleviating them.
Where Financial Anxiety Comes From
The origin of most money related anxiety stems from the uncertainty of whether we are able to provide for our present and future selves. It's the uncertainty, not the money itself (or lack thereof) that produces worry. Whether it's not knowing if you'll be in a position to adequately provide for your own retirement, contribute to your children's education, or even to just make ends meet each month, everyone lives with an element of financial uncertainty.
You Need a Plan
Fortunately, you don't have to be a sudden "gazillionaire" for worries and anxiety about money to be cured. You just need a plan that gives you confidence. If your money anxieties stem from the uncertainty of your ability to provide for the present and future, then we can combat that uncertainty with a coherent plan for both.
It may be a cash flow system that encourages sound spending and saving habits. Or a clear glide path towards retirement that gives you confidence that you'll be able to provide for your future self. Perhaps it's a savings plan for children's education so that you can be sure you are well positioned to provide them with what you always hoped you could. You may need more confidence that your estate plan carries out your wishes and intent and that your insurance coverages protect against exposure to risks that could derail your overall plan. Without a clear blueprint in each of these areas, you'll be uncertain, and with uncertainty, you'll undoubtedly experience some level of anxiety.
How a Financial Advisor Helps
As Carl Richards points out, many financial advisor "impostors" think that their job is to predict the future, thereby limiting their counsel to the next hot stock or movement of the market. However, a true financial advisor helps you prepare and plan for an uncertain future.
A true financial advisors does not attempt to predict the future, but rather helps you prepare for an uncertain one.
A true financial advisor has a comprehensive process that addresses each area of your financial life and its associated risks and uncertainties - the ones you are worried about, and even the ones you may never have considered. They task themselves with developing a plan with a clear path outlined towards your goals that maximize your likelihood of success.
One Less Thing
This means that you don't have to be a slow-witted "gazillionaire" in order to put money in its proper place in your life. Nor do you need to hit it big by finding the next high flying "fruit company" stock to assuage all of your money anxieties.
Consider partnering with a true financial advisor to help you overcome your money related worries through the development of a coherent, comprehensive plan for your present and future self.
It'll be one less thing to worry about.