Is financial planning like going to the dentist?

Doug Horn

As I was wrapping up for the week and getting ready to head home for what the weather people are saying will be a long weekend of staying inside due to a massive storm, I looked back at my first article for Blount Today. This still holds true and warranted a repeat printing. I hope everyone stayed warm this past weekend.

I recently read an article inferring many individuals failed to plan because “planning” was like going to the dentist! From my personal perspective, I find it deplorable that anyone would compare such an admirable process to that of “Going to the dentist!” But being fair, dentists may be offended by having their profession compared to “financial planning”.

Like all professions, those of us providing the service often take exceptional pride in our work and do not always understand why others don’t have similar viewpoints of our service. I know this is true, because I have g o n e to the dentist. If I were to only floss five times daily the visits would be much easier. But life happens, and so the dentist is there to fix the problems once again. It would be nice if this is all it took to fix our financial blunders.

There is little reason to encourage individuals to save hundreds of dollars each month for retirement, future college costs, life insurance, long-term disability and later in life hundreds more on long-term care protection, set aside thousands for emergencies, and all the while spending thousands on their estate plan if in reality they are eating ‘spam sandwiches’ with not enough money left over after all the ‘savings’ to live, let alone enjoy life.

In our profession, it is great fun to respond to those who have unlimited budgets and are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals. This provides the opportunity for all sorts of strategies to be implemented and every concern can be met with a solution. But in reality, most of us have budgets in one form or another. Most individuals have several life insurance policies with one or more being old and inefficient, at least one retirement account still with a former employer, and several other accounts no longer actively managed. Taking care of ‘saving for children’s college’ or ‘researching long-term care’ is on the list but just hasn’t moved forward. And the estate plan, if one exists, has not been reviewed in years! Sound familiar?

If your financial plan is to succeed, there has to be a blend between meeting the goals and still enjoying life and someone to point the direction when you stray. Stepping back to look at the ‘big’ picture and implementing one solution for several needs often simplifies the planning process. And, if it is simple and the process is made easier, then perhaps it is not as painful as going to the dentist after all. I hope my answers to your questions in future columns will permit you to feel more secure about your financial future. I will address all financial topics including retirement income, difference in classes of mutual fund shares, life insurance, saving for college, long-term care, debt, and investments. Maybe it is not Financial Planning that is painful, but not having the answers! Hopefully with your questions and my answers, you will see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it won’t be the Chattanooga Choo Choo.

For assistance with insurance, estate planning, and managing investments, contact me at Quality Financial Concepts or one of the other Certified Financial Planners in our area. To continue a personal quest for education, you can also view our learning center on our website, There you will find articles on a variety of topics, on-line seminars, calculators, as well as a host of other free tools.

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