Cultivate Your Finances this Spring
Five Steps to Get Your Money Tree BloomingKathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA® Wednesday, 04 March 2020
What do your garden and your finances have in common? As it turns out, quite a bit. Both require you to plant seeds, cultivate carefully and exercise patience before you can harvest your bounty and enjoy your prosperity.
As you begin to breathe in the fresh, clean air this spring, consider it an opportunity to freshen up your finances, too. It’s a great time to reconnect with your financial goals, cultivate new conversations and get intentional with your investment strategy. The five steps below will help you sow the seeds of financial success and ensure your investments continue to blossom.
Step 1: Revisit Your Why
If you want to watch your finances bloom this year, it’s important to start with intention and purpose. Everyone’s motivation is a bit different, so think about what’s meaningful to you. Are you in a season of intense preparation for retirement? Are you wondering which direction the market may be headed over the next couple years? Are you hoping to position yourself to leave a legacy to loved ones or a special charitable cause? Understanding your personal ‘why’ helps you stay motivated to lean into opportunities for growth.
Step 2: Consider Where You Are
Growing your investments requires you to pay attention to every seed you’ve planted. When you stop and think about it, you might be surprised at just how many places you have money. You might be well-attuned to your stocks and bonds, but do you have a cash flow plan in place for the future? Now is the time to reevaluate each of these considerations, including a review of your investment vehicles to ensure you are using low-cost solutions. Are you utilizing tax-deferred accounts like an employer-sponsored plan? If so, can you be sure you aren’t leaving any money on the table? If you’re using brokerage accounts, now is the time to review whether you’re up to date on any taxes owed on the income or capital gains.
Make sure you think outside the box, too. Do you have assets that offer less liquidity, like life insurance or an annuity? If so, it’s time to dust off those statements, reflect on your ‘why’ and make sure you’re moving forward in a way that serves your personal financial goals.
Step 3: Evaluate What You Need from Each Investment
What do you plan to use each of your assets for? For example, do you know which best serve any future liquidity needs? How will you pay your monthly expenses in retirement? Can you rely on fixed income resources like a pension or Social Security? What about variable income from your portfolio – is it earmarked for fluctuating expenses?
Since the market is ever-changing, think about the adjustments that might make sense for you right now, and balance those against your long-term goals. You’ll want to ensure you’re creating an income you won’t outlive, and a strong cash reserve or bond ladders might serve you well.
Step 4: Assemble Your Dream Team
Your financial garden won’t grow in a vacuum, so think about the individuals you’ll need to involve in your growth process. If you’ve already brought in trusted family members or friends who know and understand your goals, take a moment to think about whether there is anyone else who might add value as you evaluate your next steps. Of course, you should involve your professional team, too. If you’re happy with your financial advisor, check-in and share your desire for purposeful growth. If you’ve outgrown your current provider, consider what you feel is missing and seek it out in a new professional who better suits this phase of your life.
Step 5: Walk the Walk
The final step in cultivating your “money tree” is to put on your gloves and take action. Pull the financial weeds impeding your progress, re-pot struggling investments and step forward into your potential. Change your asset allocation, rebalance your portfolio and update your beneficiaries. Make the changes that must take place to reap the benefits of your hard work.
Every garden has growing pains, but careful nurturing and focus can lead to beautiful blooms. Financial growth isn’t easy, but you should feel empowered as you press forward with intention. After all, a well-tended garden will bear considerable fruit.
About the Author
Kathy Longo brings over 25 years of expertise and experience to Flourish Wealth Management. Kathy is wholly dedicated to improving the life of each client and finds joy in making complex matters simple and easy to understand. She excels at asking the right questions, uncovering new possibilities and implementing the most advantageous strategies for success. Playing such a pivotal role in her clients’ lives remains an honor and a privilege. After earning a degree in Financial Planning and Counseling from Purdue University, she began her career at a small firm in Palatine, Illinois where she worked directly with clients while learning to build a viable, client-centric business. Over the years, she gained extensive knowledge and wisdom working as a wealth manager, financial planner, firm manager and business owner at notable, various sized companies in both Chicago and Minneapolis.