Money Matters: Crisis in confidence

Unless you have been in a coma, it has been impossible to avoid reading or hearing recent financial news. Unfortunately, the news has been pretty negative, of late, including talk of inflation, higher oil prices, increasing interest rates, upcoming elections, home foreclosures, bank failures…all of this “noise” can impact how secure or insecure you may feel about your own retirement and its success. For those of you 50 years of age or older, this news, coupled with recent portfolio losses, may cause you to start to question whether your retirement lifestyle is actually safe. If you are not concerned today, you may be at some point in the future.

Whether you are age 50 or 70, market declines, major swings up or down, headlines, all can create doubt about the success of your retirement. When this “crisis in confidence” occurs, how you handle it can restore your confidence, create deeper concerns, or be like placing a tourniquet on a severed limb - it may be a quick fix, but recovery will not happen without additional measures.

In my experience working with those nearing or in retirement, I often see those who have three or more financial advisors. There is the tax preparer they have had for years. There are the life insurance agents who provided the whole life policies, issued back when the children were still in school. Then, there are the investment brokers/advisors for various accounts. While only one or two may be the primary source for the facts used in financial decision-making, all of them are probably sending information to consider. Some of this information can contradict recent decisions made or those recommendations made by one advisor over another. Unfortunately, all of this contrary information can lead a typical investor to do nothing, instead of encouraging appropriate decisions.

The adage “if one is good, two must be better” does not necessarily hold true with financial advisors. Just look at any pro-sport where the owner is as involved as the coach. How often does the team succeed when players receive information and instructions from two different sources? Rarely!

To regain your confidence that your retirement will succeed, you will likely take two major steps. The first is to gather the facts. Determine what you own and where it all is located. You may realize you have more or less than you thought, once this process is done. You may also realize that if you were not here to handle this step, your spouse would be severely hindered, since they lack your knowledge on where everything is located and on the decisions made during the last few years. Once you have a handle on what you own and its location, you will then confirm the number of different advisors you have had over the years, perhaps decades.

The second step is simplification. This comes from consolidating your assets and in many occasions, consolidating your advisors. Stopping some of the additional “noise” from coming in can provide the peace of mind you are seeking - too much noise can make it very hard to think and be confident about any plan. At this point in your life, when you are trying to stop some of the “noise” who better to work with? An advisor that you worked with during an earlier stage of your life or one that understands the dilemmas you are facing today? Is it better to seek three, four, or more opinions about each decision you face? Or, create a relationship with one advisor who knows and understands your needs?

Taking these two steps can be the answer to your “crisis in confidence”. If it is time for you to act, I hope you will consider my firm or one of the area certified financial planners.


Would you like a response to a financial question? Send your question to Doug Horn, 115 W. Broadway, Maryville, TN 37801. Be sure to mark your envelope Money Matters.

Doug Horn, CFP, is an area financial planner with more than 24 years financial experience and founder of Quality Financial Concepts, located in downtown Maryville on Broadway.

Doug Horn, CFP, Registered Investment Advisor in Tennessee and Texas and Registered Principal, Branch Office of and Securities offered through CUE Financial, Member FINRA, SIPC.

© 2008 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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