July 7, 2017. By Jennifer Wolfsberg:
Summer months often lead to increased obligations and overcommitted schedules with the rise of barbecues, graduation celebrations, and weekends away. Now more than ever it is important to have a sound advisory board on your side to ensure that your financial goals do not slip through the cracks of your personal life. It is not always big projects that need the most attention. It has been said that clients often do not need a lot…they need a little a lot, which is exactly what we are here for. We understand that the accumulation of everyday decisions often carries as much weight as the major events in our lives. That said, it is worth revisiting our May 2016 blog, “Reclaim Your Time: Build Your Advisory Board”
“As I sit in traffic once again, a common theme for many of us who live in the Boston area, I begin to mentally design my To-Do list as I reflect back to the day’s events. Research and articles to be read or written, meetings to be scheduled, emails and calls to be returned. This is the precious time when I create the next day’s agenda and arrive to the office ready to tackle the world. If you are like me you have two separate lists- The Business List is always at the forefront of my mind during long commutes, however let’s not forget that personal list as well: calling the contractor to fix a lingering household project from last winter, picking up a gift card for an upcoming birthday, bringing the dog to the groomer…this list too is endless.
If your lists are like mine, they never seem to shrink but instead build with complexity over time. While we make promises to ourselves (“This year I am going to say ‘No’ more often”) it can begin to feel like a never-ending game of Whack-A-Mole. Remember the amusement park game in which we use a mallet to hit the cute mole on the head pushing him into a hole, only for another appear in its place? This game is a great illustration of our daily schedules filled to the brim with incessant tasks and responsibilities straining precious focus and time. Each and every day in talking with clients this is no longer an amusing side note of discussion, but is becoming an epidemic. Individuals and families are experiencing an all-consuming schedule overload. Monday morning arrives and it becomes a landslide trying to navigate through a chaotic week as we toggle our work and home responsibilities. The weekend arrives and everyone is exhausted and valiantly attempt to fit in a million household errands, soccer games and an occasional Saturday dinner with their spouse (a dinner which to closely resembles a business meeting recapping the week to get them up to speed on business and family related happenings.) Before you know it, Monday morning is upon us and you hold on tight and the landslide begins all over again. Sound familiar? I am sure it does….
Many of us have become task oriented in nature addressing the needs of the moment. This indeed makes us all fantastic multi-taskers and thanks to technology, efficiencies have awarded us the ability to take on more and more. This short-term mindset, however, can limit our ability to address important long-term personal planning for ourselves, our children and our aging parents. The shift of these efficiencies has started to turn negative. The overload and stress is creating pressure, causing health, relationship and career related issues to surface. The ability to operate at a heightened level of anxiety over a prolonged period of time is affecting individuals and families not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.
Here is the interesting factor… everyone is feeling this but no one is talking about it. It is brewing and gaining strength. The stress of trying to balance it all is a myth if we continue to utilize the methods we have attempted to this point. The ‘worker harder longer’ mentality is no longer conducive, but remains the default when sensing of loss of control. The personal in-depth family discussions we have as advisors are not solely focused on investments and finance, but also on our clients as people; as human beings with hopes and dreams for their businesses, careers and families. Individuals are dealing with personal stress on levels we have never seen before. The work and family life balance is becoming dramatically more difficult to maintain. As individuals age they are faced with the increasing health and financial related needs of their aging parents on top of those of their children, selves, and spouses. They are also experiencing the complex emotional needs of their adult children as they and try and find their own way in life with the burden of high educational costs sitting like a weight on their shoulders. They too are struggling oftentimes with their own anxieties, and hare faced with the competition to get into the best university, to be the best all-around student, academically and athletically. The intense emotional needs of these young adults as they attempt to create their own path can add an additional layer of stress to a family. Understandably they too are struggling with physical and mental health related issues.
With all of the factors I have mentioned above we are seeing a high level of burn-out creep among individuals and families as they try and navigate through an increasingly fast-paced world where quality of their lives is diminishing as they power through their lists instead of being present.
Those are the struggles; here is the solution: Build your own support system.
It is that simple.
During times or turmoil we often discuss who is part of our support system – a friend or loved one that you know you can count on to listen without judgment and that is ready and able to jump in and help you on a very personal, intimate level – but can a support system be built for a family’s professional needs? Yes you can. And the benefits will transcend across all of your lists.
Over the last several years we have worked closely with individuals and families to begin discussing and designing what their wishes, goals and plans may be in the next 5 to 10 years and beyond. In financial services our primary focus is of course portfolio management, but we as fiduciary advisors and planners, however, believe in immersing ourselves into the overall wealth management needs of our client. What may start as an investment-centric agreement evolves into a strong advisory relationship that spans across the numerous types of planning decisions on a daily basis. We truly believe in acting in the best interest of our clients, and in this fiduciary role we have had the great privilege in advising them on an array of life events. Our team experience along with the many specialists we have worked with over the years are the foundation of the support system we have built for our clients and their families. Assisting our clients in multiple capacities is time intensive, yet we believe it creates a cohesive structure and plan for our clients over the long-term. While it may not be obvious to our clients at first, many of the financial decisions they are faced with have consequences and considerations that may affect unexpected facets of their lives. Taking the time to review the intricate details of these decisions provides the education and perspective for them to move forward with actions that are in their best interest. There is no doubt that our major focus as advisors is and should be the study, analysis, and management of investments; that in and of itself is worth the fee, but the extensive tasks, calls, meetings and service items that are not directly related to investing are priceless. Recapture your quality of life and build your family’s network of advisors that will allow you to refocus on what is important and to allow you to be more present.
We work with many professional families and individuals who simply cannot find an extra 30 minutes in their day. Commitments to the office and family leave little time for personal financial planning. It is hard to plan for 20 years from now when you can barely think past your iPhone calendar for next week. As we all know days and weeks pass in a blur with holidays and milestones in constant rotation. All too often we find ourselves saying to one another, “Where has the time gone?” Centerpoint is the time-saving, stress reducing resource for clients, forever accepting the forward pass, providing a team that will go the extra step to keep so many tasks on track. These personal touches may be difficult to measure at times, however we as a firm and as people find gratification in providing our clients a sense of relief, a sense of recapturing control of their personal time. This is what builds trust across generations. This is what fuels us at Centerpoint Advisors.
Fitting financial objectives into the work-life balance is not an exact science and no, not everything will go to plan. Illness occurs, unexpected home repairs happen, cars break down, life priorities shift and minds change. Having a foundation in place that provides a true focus is a starting point, and a real working platform to build from.
Nothing gives me more pleasure secretly than checking things off my list as I’m sure you can relate. Over time we will all continue to be faced with financial decisions and challenges, and one of your challenges may be choosing an advisory team that can support you and your loved ones now and in the years to come. Building your professional support team is more important now than ever. Right now we believe individuals and families need to begin building a team that will serve not only as a professional board of advisors, but that can support the ongoing changes that a family will face over the next 5 to 25 years.
A change and shift has to occur, a new perspective to welcome the support one another personally and professionally, in order to move forward with greater bandwidth and authenticity.”