It’s sad but true that most good intentions are never seen to completion. Why do some people stick to their “knitting” while others put down the yarn and move on to something else? Often the difference rests with having an accountability partner. As the saying goes, it takes 21 days to form a habit. If a person sets a goal to lose weight and get healthier, hiring a personal trainer is one of the most effective ways to get through those first 21 days. Why? Well think about it. Does a personal trainer want to have a reputation for getting results? Would people watch ‘The Biggest Loser’ if nobody lost any weight? Trainers are skilled at correcting mistakes, challenging us in areas we need improvement and keeping us mentally and emotionally connected to the process so we don’t get frustrated early and burn-out.

But are they worth the cost? Unequivocally yes.  Here’s why: First of all, laying down your own money shows a good faith commitment on your end. You are much more likely to find value in something if you had to sacrifice something yourself to get it; such as time, energy, and money. Further, you will have a partner with a vested interest in your success.  If you fail, in a way they also fail.

The same concepts apply to your wealth. Do you have occasional fantasies of being able to retire early? Buy a 2nd home? Take your family on an extended vacation every few years? Unfortunately most people in our country are not educated in the elemental financial literacy concepts at an early age so they end up paying for one mistake after another and never get themselves out of the hole they starting digging right out of high school. We as a nation don’t plan for our futures very well.  We take the easy way out and get what we want immediately without sacrificing much of anything- or so we thought at the time. By engaging in behaviors that cause us financial harm we sacrifice what could have been with each passing day.  Ignoring wealth building strategies early in our careers needs to stop. Having a financial planner on your team could make a mountain of difference to your future financial situation. Instilling this planning approach in your children could end up changing our country from one of extreme debt to one of surplus and financial independence.

Not all investment advisors are planners. CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™ professionals are focused on helping people plan for their exact situation and life goals.  Planning should be at the core of every investment strategy. The 401(k) plan, IRAs, mutual funds, properties etc. should all be invested according to what the plan calls for. A financial plan is a very important cornerstone of your overall wealth. Like a good personal trainer will create a custom work-out routine and nutrition plan, a good financial planner will get to know you well and make recommendations that are consistent with your overall well-being. Financial planning fees are most often tax deductible as well.

So as you consider where you’re at in life, ask yourself if you are proud of who you are and where you’re going. If you made mistakes that you wish you wouldn’t have made, think about setting a new example for your children and friends. Put yourself in the best possible situation to succeed. Professional athletes understand this concept with their chosen sport. Find a trainer, coach or professional advisor for each area of your game that you need to work on. Then just stick with your plan.

Views expressed in this newsletter are the current opinion of the author, but not necessarily those of Raymond James. The author’s opinions are subject to change without notice. Information contained in this report was received from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy is not guaranteed. It is not intended as tax advice. Investing always involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss. No investment strategy can guarantee success.

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