September 17, 2020
Last summer, I helped a client plan for an early retirement from a fruitful, but stressful and demanding, career. In addition to the portfolios we managed, I advised on the investments in a collection of employer retirement accounts, along with a large amount of deferred compensation. Of course, no one could have predicted COVID-19 and the economic uncertainties that came with it. So naturally my client reached out to me with concern at every gyration in the stock market.
Once I assured her that we had stress-tested her financial plan for environments such as this and her income stream was intact — that nothing had changed about her plans to start a business with her son this year and travel more — she was so relieved!
Our client’s reaction is typical because many people equate success with portfolio growth. However, when I speak with clients, knowing they can achieve their dreams is truly what’s most important to them.
Rather than play the game of “Whoever dies with the most wins,” a goals-based approach to wealth management connects an investor’s goals with how their portfolio is invested. I find that women particularly gravitate to this approach because it puts investment decisions in the context of what matters most in their lives.
A goals-based process focuses on you and considers your time and other resources, in addition to your wealth, to make sure we create a comprehensive plan that works for you and that you’re taking the appropriate amount of investment risk to live that plan. It helps to:
A wonderful benefit is the many conversations that unfold. We explore different outcomes with uncontrollable factors that may impact the success of your preferred scenario. Thinking through potential roadblocks during a non-crisis moment and how you might respond may lead us in some new directions. Maybe we create a Plan B, or even a Plan C.
A goals-based approach considers where you currently are in your financial journey and where you ultimately want to go and identifies milestones along the way. When we work with clients, we walk them through four steps:
Each of us invests for a reason. Sometimes this is obvious and sometimes it’s a discovery process. Whatever the path, understanding why you invest can be life changing. It creates a personal connection to your investments and firmly places you in the driver’s seat of a lifelong journey with your portfolio.
Your goals should dictate how your money should be invested, not the other way around. Especially in a volatile stock market, I get asked from time to time, “What’s your best investment idea?” And I’ll say, “It depends on what you want to do and where you want to go.” Perhaps not as satisfying as a hot stock tip, but it’s the truth. Goals-based wealth management helps you to make financial planning and investment decisions with intention and purpose — so that achieving your goals is your benchmark for success.
Learn more about women and wealth by reading Aspiriant’s white paper, “Women Taking Charge: Six steps to feel more financially secure.”
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