Access to financial advice is more readily available than ever before- between the internet, various publications and talk shows, one can get advice on budgeting, saving for retirement, support for ageing parents and a host of other topics. This can be seen as a good thing as the mystery of the subject matter is lessened. It can also be a bad thing as the advice you see is general and presumed to apply to everyone equally. Problems abound with this general way of dispensing advice. Experience tells us that it is not just ones age, but time of life that dictate plans for saving. We are as likely to have a 50 year old new entrepreneur with toddlers as we are the corporate employed 35 year old with the same age children. Yet the advice for these families is the same.
The same would be true for retirement planning which is seen as a linear process – saving that occurs regularly over a period of years and then you retire. What about the sabbatical? Or ‘gig’ employment which is more and more common?
Do we have to wait until never-never to enjoy the benefits of our money? Our answer is no, we believe that the best approach is to save and then enjoy your savings along the way. It might be travel, an extended break from employment and then working longer, or downswing your job fairly early in life to pursue a passion in the form of work. Conventional financial planning advice in its generality does not account for these individual differences. We find it to be more realistic to explore these life events and desires and plan accordingly. A well thought out individualized plan can accomplish this and more.
It is a good idea to cover the absolutes in general – saving, protecting your family from risk and developing a plan for adverse events and then move on to a more customized plan for your personal future.