How to Avoid Financial Neglect

Remember the last time you went for a dip in the ocean? Unless you were very careful, you likely drifted 50 or 100 feet away from where you started in just a matter of a few minutes. The tide and undertow are powerful forces. You probably didn’t intend to move down the beach but it just happened. Financial neglect often occurs in much the same way…it just happens unless you exert specific action to combat the strong financial forces causing you to drift.

Correcting the Course

Money is inherently selfish and can easily overwhelm those lacking direction. Without clear priorities, money goes to the place causing the most “pain”. Financial drifting…the financial state of non-decision, is a byproduct of neglect. Drifting is often masked by effort and good intentions.

The remedy to drifting can only be found in personally meaningful long-term goals. Without clear direction, you will continue to drift and likely end up at a far different place than desired. Your financial life simply can’t stand still for long. Inability to make concrete financial choices is, after all, a decision but usually not a wise one.

“Non-Decision Decisions”

Neglect thrives on unnecessary complication. The more difficult a “non-decision decision” is to unravel, the higher the chance that nothing will happen. Financial product salespeople understand this very well. The worst investment/insurance products are usually very complicated on purpose, owing to the tendency of neglect.

Another symptom of neglect is having investments in your portfolio that point in different directions. It is quite common to see this with new clients and always interesting to hear the reasons, (or lack thereof), for a particular investment strategy that conflicts with their stated goals.

Financial neglect has to be addressed directly and requires ongoing reinforcement. It is much like exercising, you can’t just do it once. You have to stick to a plan and exercise regularly to achieve good results. Ready to take the first step? Ready for a real conversation?

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