Take it personally because it is YOUR finances but, “Personal Finance” does NOT mean go at it ALONE

Per Investopedia, the term “personal finance” refers to how you manage your money and plan for your future. It also mentions that this term can be intimidating to many and that leads to avoiding planning which can lead to bad decisions and poor outcomes. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.

Recently, I read the phrase, “where personal finance becomes more personal than finance” and I liked how splitting the phrase into two distinct words had me thinking about my personal life (responsibilities, goals, dreams, etc.) as well as my finances (bank accounts, investment accounts, taxes, estate documents, etc.) but I kept kicking around and coming back to the idea that the phrase “personal finance” implies, admittedly subtly, that it’s all up to you to figure out and solve for – but that’s only partly true.

Find a professional & build a partnership

The part that’s false or better yet, the part I don’t agree with is that the only way to approach “Personal Finance” is by yourself. It doesn’t have to be a solo mission and you’re most certainly not alone. More to the point is this – most individuals who believe their personal finances are successful currently work with a professional in financial services (more on that later).

Step #1 of Personal Finance success is counterintuitive because the first step is shifting from personal to public.

But, before your shudder, the public is a ridiculously small audience in the form of an advisor/coach (preferably a certified financial planner- see below for links). The most important part of that first step is to find the right partner for you and your family.

To go a step further, I believe the shift should be done sooner rather than later. I empathize regarding the difficulty of asking for help however, in my career and experience, the majority of successful investors have completed this first step. When they reflect on their decision, they’re typically happy with the results.

Prepare to be confused…at first

When it comes to titles, prepare to be confused. Financial planner, Financial advisor, Wealth manager, Investment advisor, wealth planner and Financial coach – whew, it can confuse the best of experts! Figuring out what’s best for your personal finances is difficult however, the good news is that you can disregard “titles”. If you prefer to learn more about “titles” – click here.

Rather than focusing on titles, I suggest that you look for these descriptors/keywords instead:

Fiduciary, which means the professional and the firm are both legally and ethically held to the standard of working in your best interest. Client interests come first, no exceptions. That is NOT the norm across the industry. Those who are not fiduciaries tend to follow the “suitability standard,” which means they only have to do what’s “suitable for” you… not what’s best. Personally, I believe you deserve better.
Independent, meaning there is no other company or brand to answer to, regulation is conducted by the SEC and/or the State where the firm is headquartered and finally there are strict compliance standards that must be followed. This characteristic is most commonly found in the form of an RIA or Registered Investment Adviser, like Felton & Peel Wealth Management.

CFP® or CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals who use these marks have been highly trained and educated in how to provide comprehensive financial advice that can address needs in all areas of your life.

Spoiler Alert: No secret sauce or silver bullet

None of this is groundbreaking research or advice. There’s no secret sauce or silver bullet. It’s as simple as this: “To be successful, you need to follow what successful people do. Then, do those things.”

Many investors who are wealthy today embraced the idea years ago that they needed help with their personal finances. They realized that finding and maintaining a partnership with a trusted professional would help them increase their wealth.

So, what’s it like with me as your partner? I’m so glad you asked!

We would work together to understand your annual household cash flow because the best wealth builders didn’t get that way by picking the best stocks, they got that way because they had the cash flow to stay invested.

When it comes to investing, the most powerful edge isn’t found through research, information, luck, talent, or timing. It’s found through planning, control, and better behavior.

Financial planning is a process. The sooner you trust the process, the sooner your life will feel less stressful. You will be less worried, better prepared, and more confident in your future.

If you would like us to help you determine what “personal finance” means to you, then we invite you to contact us. We’ll be happy to chat with you about our process!

B. Brandon Mackie, CFP®
Brandon Mackie is a Managing Associate and Investment Advisor Representative with Felton & Peel Wealth Management. A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ with almost 20 years of financial services experience. Comprehensive Financial Planning Advocate. Board Member of FPA of GA. Dedicated to helping others achieve a solid fiscal future.
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