“So, what do you do?”
When people ask me this, I could, of course, answer with the standard: “I’m a financial advisor” or “a financial planner.”
While that definition is technically true, I’m working on a better one for me and the desires I have to do things differently with Mosaic.
Here’s what I’ve got so far: “You know how you can get overwhelmed by what to do with your finances? I help people organize their finances and feel confident about their financial future.” Call me a financial confidence-builder.
I love this definition because isn’t just about investing, but instead a holistic approach to finances. When people then ask about investing, my responses can be much more personalized to their big-picture mosaic.
This often comes into play when asked about investing.
One question I often get is: “I have some extra money; can I invest it with you?” My answer is always going to be “it depends” because we need to get your whole financial picture in place before we start talking about investing.
Here’s what we’d need to know before you consider investing:
- What do you have? Get organized with the financial checklist.
- Look at your cash flow. What’s coming in and out each month? If you have extra money each month you’re saving, you could be ready to invest.
- Do you have a savings account already established? This could be designated as your emergency fund. (Financial Planner Tip: Typically, you want 3-6 months of expenses in a money market account to use for emergencies and unexpected expenses.) If you have more money than you need in your emergency fund, then you may be ready to invest.
- Time frame. Identify the time horizon. If you do decide to invest your money, how long until you would like to access it? If you’re saving for a down payment on a house in 5 years, that’s not long-term money. If you can designate the money for the long term, then you’re getting closer to being ready to invest.
As you can see, we can’t just invest your money without more of a completed picture.
In addition to the questions above, there might also be other considerations, such as income requirements, account types, etc. We need all the pieces to make sure investing some of your money is appropriate. Most importantly, we need that full picture to be able to make recommendations that work for your unique, individual goals for the future. Nobody else is like you, which means you get to call the shots.
A couple of years ago, I realized I needed to take the word “should” out of my life. There are always things in our lives that we need to or have to do. That’s just adulting. But when we fill our lives with “we should do this” or “I should do that” or “what should I do?” it’s exhausting. So I started replacing “should” with “need” or “want.” If it didn’t make sense, I let it go.
A good example of this is when we lived in Louisiana and my girls were spending four days a week in gymnastics. It was getting to be a lot, so I sat the girls down and tried removing “should” from the equation. I had been feeling like we “should” continue just because they were making progress at the sport. So we tried saying it out loud, “We need to do gymnastics.” Suddenly didn’t sound right—it wasn’t a need. So then we said, “I want to do gymnastics even if it means giving up another activity.” That was what allowed us to see that gymnastics wasn’t a fit for us anymore, and that was ok. By removing “should,” we could focus on what we need and want to do.
The same holds true for finances. As your financial organizer and confidence-builder, it’s my job to present information and make recommendations. From there, you’re the one who decides if you want or need to act on those recommendations.
To be frank: you don’t need to invest your money to live a happy life. You may not even really want to. But…
If you’re looking at the long term and you have goals you want to achieve, then investing may be an important option for you to consider.
It might be something you decide you want to do.
And we’ll help you get there! One of my favorite parts of working with clients is to see them go from being overwhelmed and unsure about their finances to understanding to making confident decisions about what they want.
The opinions expressed herein are those of Anna Nelson and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to sell any product. Forward-looking statements cannot be guaranteed. This document may contain certain information that constitutes “forward-looking statements” which can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “may,” “expect,” “will,” “hope,” “forecast,” “intend,” “target,” “believe,” and/or comparable terminology. No assurance, representation, or warranty is made by any person that any of Anna Nelson assumptions, expectations, objectives, and/or goals will be achieved. Nothing contained in this document may be relied upon as a guarantee, promise, assurance, or representation as to the future. Anna Nelson is an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training.