A man told me, “I read lots of books and articles about personal finance, but I don’t seem to have the self-discipline to put all those good ideas into practice.”
He’s not the only one.
I’m convinced this disconnect between “knowing what to do” and “doing what you know” is at the root of most financial problems. “Spend less; save more” may have a nice ring to it, but for most folks, it has never become a lifestyle.
I’m also convinced that management consultant Bobb Biehl was right when he said: “Nobody wants to fail. People most often fail because they just don’t know how to succeed.”
Consider these shocking financial facts about 65-year-old Americans:
- Only 2% are financially independent.
- 23% are still working
- 75% are dependent on relatives, friends and charity to make ends meet! (You think any of them said when they were 35, “My goal in 30 years is to be in financial trouble”?)
Here’s the third thing I’m convinced of: Having a financial “coach” can put you in that 2% group. (And if you’re not wild about the term “coach,” substitute the term “personal trainer.”)
Such an individual provides instruction, motivation, and accountability.
Back before the earth’s crust hardened, I played football. I had plenty of coaches. And weren’t they a charming bunch!
First, they instructed me in the fine art of blocking and tackling.
Next, they motivated me (or tried to): “Moore, if your brains were dynamite, you couldn’t make a hummingbird sneeze!” Not the most positive form of inspiration. But it had a certain effect.
Finally, they kept me accountable. Rarely did I WANT to show up at practice twice a day in the August heat. But I knew that if I skipped practice, I’d get some “special” one-on-one time with my coaches.
Instruction, motivation and accountability…I’m finding that most people need these three same elements in their financial lives.
Hire a personal trainer, and he or she will instruct you in the proper methods of exercise, diet, and rest.
But instruction is only the beginning. That’s because “knowing” is only about 15% of the journey. It’s the other 85%—“doing”—that gets you to the goal.
In short, we need motivation and accountability. This is why we step on the scales. It’s why we meet regularly with our personal trainers at agreed-upon times…so we can engage in certain actions, with him or her standing by and offering encouragement to keep going.
Who should you choose as a financial “coach” or “personal trainer”? Here are two options:
- A successful friend. Maybe you know someone with a similar income and a track record of fiscal wisdom. They’re debt-free. Generous. They’re regular savers, and their portfolio is growing. Buy them lunch and pick their brains.
- A trusted professional. This may be your CPA, a financial planner, a banker, someone else involved in the world of finances. Again, take caution. Make sure they are looking after your best interest, not just their own.
Remember, if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting. My advice is to consider getting a coach!
What kind of questions should you be discussing with your coach? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you my free list of “30-Something Retirement Questions for People Who are 60-Something.”
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