By Ken Himmler Sr.
In 2006 my best friend, life partner and mother of my child and I wrote the book, “Live Rich & Stay Wealthy for Women Only.” In this manual for women I stated a study that showed that women were proven to be better investors. This study showed that women outperformed men as investors because they did not tinker as much with their portfolios. I agreed with this study as most men I know, including myself, don’t like to read directions or instructions. We like to take things apart and put them back together. The problem is when it comes to investments; most men think that if they tune the engine of the car it will go faster. They use this same philosophy when it comes to investment management. The problem is that almost every statistic proves that the more buy and sell activity (turnover) the lower the returns and the higher the risk.
Since writing the book I have made another realization, while women have shown to be better investors they are not doing so well in the financial planning area. Women today have been taking over what has in the past typically the man’s job of working outside the home while still taking care of the house and the children. This added stress and time crunch has put women’s time towards their own financial planning on the back burner. Financial planning cannot be as low maintenance as the investment portfolio. Every quarter, budgets, tax planning, insurance coverage and cash flow planning must be done proactively and on time.
If I related financial planning to dieting, it takes discipline, education and an end goal. Fortunately, there are now technologies that can automate the entire financial plan and keep track of every task. In some cases, the technology can actually complete the tasks for you.
Imagine if you could outsource your dieting! While that might be impossible, you can outsource not only the initial steps of financial planning but you can also free up your time by automating it.
I have researched many of the on-line programs and most of the free programs are designed to try to sell you a product. There are some online programs that you can either buy yourself or you can get the use of through a Fiduciary Advisor. Navi-Plan, Moneyguide Pro and eMoney are the planner’s tops choices. If these are the most chosen tools of financial planners, then it should be good enough for any individual wanting to set up and automate their financial plan to give them a more predictable outcome. The cost for these programs range between $900 and $3,500 per year. If this is too much to pay or you are not interested in learning how to create and manage your financial plan, then seek out a planner that uses one of these automation tools. The wonderful benefit of these programs is that you can set up the plan, make the updates and then set data tags to tell you when anything changes that may send your plan off track. If you wonder how important it is to stay on track, imagine this, an airplane was to leave Los Angeles with a destination of New York it may take five hours under a straight flight plan. If that plane is blown off track by only 1 degree, it would end up near Vermont. The same is true with your financial plan. If you want to retire at a certain age and do not have it perfectly planned out, a small deviation in your plan could mean you have to work an extra three to five years!
Should you go the route of looking for a planner to set up and manage your plan, make sure that they are using one of the above listed tools? After thirty plus years of creating and monitoring clients’ goals I can tell you how important it is to have a tool to automate the oversight of every part of your plan. If you have a financial planner currently find out if he or she is using such a tool. If not, it may be time to find someone who uses technology so as to improve your ability to meet your financial goals. Your other option is to take the time to learn, research and manage your plan yourself. If you go this route, just remember to do your research and keep in mind that just because someone has passed a test or has initials behind their name, it does not mean that they are at the top of their profession. This is your future, your life’s work. Make sure it is in good hands!