“…And don’t let the bedbugs bite”
By Bob McNamara
If you were to ask a bunch of people what it means to be a baby boomer, you’d probably hear variations on the theme of “it was an increase in the population after veterans came home from the war.” But to actually BE a baby boomer is to be part of a movement, a way of life. Lives that once consisted of running the streets ‘til dinner time with whatever other kids happened to be outside, of seeing who could swing the highest, of pedal cars and trucks you had to push and make the engine noise for, of dolls with pulls strings, of a bunch of kids rolling around the back of wood sided station wagons without seat belts, and getting spanked, not just by your mother, but by your friend’s mother if you acted up at her house (and without litigation).
Our lives are much more complicated now. As we raise our own kids with time-outs rather than spankings, pay for braces for them and laser eye surgery for us, and make appointments for our kids to play at friend’s houses, we remember fondly the way things used to be. And we look ahead at the way we want things to be – sending our kids to college, retiring comfortably without a pension and maybe even buying that second home some day. And, as we lay wide awake at night thinking about how we are going to pay for it all, pharmacists dedicate an entire industry to our sleepless nights (not to mention our arthritic knees, gastric reflux, restless legs and more delicate issues advertised on TV every five minutes during the baseball game).
Financial planners strive to deliver peace of mind. We talk. About them. About their goals, dreams, hopes, fears, where they are now, where they want to be and how we might get there. We talk about appropriate asset allocation, setting up potential income streams for life, risk management, income tax reduction strategies and estate planning. The products and services are simply a means to an end.
In the dot.com era, many thought they could manage their own portfolios. Perhaps a few could. However, we see a major shift among boomers back toward seeking advice – because as we grow closer to our retirement years, we recognize that we can’t afford to take the same risks we could when we acted on a “double dog dare”. Our future comfort is at stake.
I double dog dare you to ask yourself these questions:
• Am I able to go to sleep at night knowing I have complete peace of mind about my financial future?
• Are my assets properly allocated based on recent or upcoming changes to my life and lifestyle?
• Am I absolutely sure the beneficiaries on all of my accounts reflect my current wishes?
• Can I really afford to pay for college for my children without sacrificing my other goals?
• Am I happy with the amount of income tax I am paying Uncle Sam?
• Have I made provisions for my family in case something happens to me? Are they enough?
• Can I live for 30+ years on my retirement savings?
• Is there a charitable organization I would like to help now as well as after I am gone?
• Have I introduced my financial, legal and other advisors to my spouse so that he/she might feel comfortable seeking their advice should something happen to me?
If the above questions didn’t cause you a little discomfort, I didn’t do my job properly. I’d rather you have one more sleepless night considering these questions than live an actual real life nightmare by not planning sufficiently for your financial future. The answers to these questions and many others might be found in a complimentary consultation with a qualified financial professional. Unlike your doctor, we still make housecalls.
Robert J. McNamara – Financial Consultants (Financial Planning for Families) is located at 132. S. Swan Street, Albany. For more information call 434.4383.