Owning Your Future Requires Deliberate Planning and Careful Attention
Driving requires a glance at the dashboard on a regular basis to monitor all of the various gauges that let us know when things are on track and when we don’t have enough gas to get to our destination. The same is true for your finances.
In our time together previously, we have driven through financial planning topics at a relatively high rate of speed. From investment planning, tax strategies, estate planning, and more, we’ve covered a lot of ground.
Throughout this road trip, I’ve mentioned that every good financial team needs a tool to help consolidate all your information to help in planning for your wealth management. At Echo Wealth Management, I have used a tool called the Echo Dashboard for over 15 years, developed and supported by eMoney Advisor. Today, I want to show you the value of utilizing a tool like this.
The Echo Dashboard – A Powerful Tool
A tool like the Echo Dashboard allows you and your financial advisor to see everything you own in a private, secure location where all your data is consolidated into one clear financial picture. This makes getting organized simple.
The Echo Dashboard shows a client’s current and projected income, net worth, and expenses year-by-year to age ninety-five based on some key assumptions, including date of retirement, inflation, and target rate of return. Each night, it pulls the balances and the security positions from the institutions where the client has accounts. The balances are then recalculated to keep the client up to date as his/her account values change.
In short, the Echo Dashboard gives clients the ability to connect everything they own so they know what everything is worth. No matter where a person is or what they’re doing, those who have knowledge of what they have fared better than those who don’t.
Making data available in the dashboard account at any time means we are in a position to run “what if” scenarios. These scenarios are key to establishing a proper wealth management plan. This process makes it very easy to see how actions over the long term affect a wealth profile. Since the dashboard projects a profile up to the age of ninety-five, running scenarios makes it possible to view the potential impact of a decision, not just today, but throughout a client’s lifetime.
The Echo Dashboard shows you the impact of your decisions on cash flow, tax planning, estate planning, college funding, and insurance, as well as the impact a premature death, disability, or long-term care, would have on your family members. This allows you to make adjustments in order to have a solid, comprehensive financial plan that protects you and your family in the future.
This tool is just one element in your wealth management plan. Make sure your financial advisor offers you a similar way to monitor all of the various elements of your financial plan.
Your Next Steps
As I have stressed many times throughout my blogs, the first step in any plan should be goal setting. Goals must be specific and have deadlines.
Then should come reflecting on which actions you can take to have a meaningful impact. It may be making time to see your financial advisor to discuss areas that have been overlooked in your financial plan. This could be adjusting your charitable giving strategy or refining other areas that are working but could work better.
Another area worth reflecting on is your possible behavioral biases. Challenge yourself to make sure you are not making wealth management harder than it needs to be.
Another point of action or reflection could be examining your dreams. Retirement planning isn’t just about planning for your financial freedom; it’s about knowing what you want that phase of your life to be like.
One last point about dreams – and men, stick with me on this, as you have women in your life this could pertain to. I hope that women who grew up with the stereotype that boys are better in math and science can see that this isn’t true and that this profession offers them a viable opportunity to take control of their own plan, ask the right questions, and evaluate the performance of their own team.
Many women with careers seem to think they can put off financial planning – everything from contributing to a 401(k) plan to buying a house. Too often, women say, “This will all be taken care of when I get married.” You should not wait to make major financial decisions until you get married because the reality is that Prince Charming may never come. And with 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce, saying, “I have a husband who manages our investments” is not a solution.
Women earn about 75 percent of men’s income. Women also live longer and spend more time out of the workplace. Women spend an average of eleven years out of the workforce caring for a relative or children. That time is usually spent not saving for retirement. Women spend as many years caring for their elderly parents as they do raising their children.
The fact is an increasing number of women will end up managing money on their own because they’ve been divorced or widowed or have never married. All these unique challenges for women make planning for a financial future even more important.
It is my greatest desire to equip you with the information you need to create a wealth management plan, and that is why I am so excited about my book, Own Your Future. I elaborate, in detail, on all the strategies and recommendations I have made in my previous blogs.
Your future is yours, so believe in yourself, believe that success is achievable as long as you are willing to dream, learn from failures, plan meticulously and deliberately, and then take small actions to get you to the next goal. Monitor your plan over time and position yourself to seize opportunities as they arise.
Remember that while wealth management can be complicated, it doesn’t have to be, so get the right help and enjoy the journey. And I am always here to help. I’m licensed in all 50 states, and it would be my great honor to assist you on your journey to financial freedom and owning your future!