The answer to this was astonishing even to a Financial Services veteran like myself, and the answer is financial planning. Yes, financial planning! In a 2013 survey, investors admitted that they’re more afraid of financial planning than public speaking, losing their job or even death. That’s a lot of fear.
The survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Nationwide Financial. Participants included 783 Americans ages 18 and older with a minimum of $100,000 in investable assets. What was interesting, and perhaps not surprising, was the fear of another financial crisis was named across all generations.
The three most common financial fears investors had were:
- Fear there will be another financial crisis
- Fear their health care costs will be unmanageable
- Fear they won’t be able to finance their children’s education
“We found a significant amount of fear among high-net-worth investors,” said Michael Spangler, president of Nationwide Funds, in a recent Investor’s Business Daily article. Spangler, who calls the survey results a “wake-up call,” noted that in addition to a generalized fear of financial planning, some mid-career professionals expressed specific concerns.
While each client is different, there are commonalities of fears. At Financial Freedom Planners we use a seven-step process to ensure a clear understanding of financials, fears and what our client wants their future to look like.
The IBD article stated, “Focusing on concrete actions can prove comforting to clients with fears about their financial future. Immobilized at first, they may feel more empowered to take control of their investments as they weigh the benefits of specific strategies.”
‘For Matthew Shafer, a financial adviser in Boca Raton, Fla., he likes to ask two questions: “In a perfect world, what would your future look like?” and “How would your finances help you achieve that?”‘ Those are excellent questions for all to consider as the client/advisor relationship develops.
Like most fears, once you begin the process and develop a game plan or blueprint, the fear is largely if not completely removed. We highly recommend developing a financial plan, and in particular working with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. A CFP® can be found here at the CFP Board website.
The 3 ways the survey suggested to get off the sidelines were:
- Confront your fears and work through your emotions
- Focus on the big picture and long-term goals
- Keep your portfolios diversified
Don’t be afraid! Call us and we’ll be happy to help or steer you in the right direction.