By Tom Breiter
The Wealth Her Way website concept began because we noted trends within households, as we work with clients in the Bradenton / Sarasota and Naples areas of West Florida, where the management of assets tends to fall under the male’s responsibility and oftentimes the female may not be involved at all. With women often younger in the relationship and having longer life expectancies, there’s a good chance the woman will be responsible for managing her wealth at some point in time. We‘ve also noted that there are some distinct differences between the genders when it comes to investing, retirement income planning and the goals that seem to be tied back to the idea of the “money”.
I’m not implying the big picture objectives are diametrically opposed between spouses, but there are differences in priorities and involvement in the planning process that we believe should be addressed for the best chance of success.
We have defined a process for the approach to planning and investing, we call the Waypoint FORMula. It includes identifying the core concerns and priorities of each client, whether single, married or in a relationship. When we are getting to know a new client or client couple that we are engaging in a detailed planning process, we place a single-page document titled “What’s Important to You” in front of them. The document contains a list of some common objectives and concerns that people tend to think about as they near, enter and go through retirement. We have the client check the top three items that they think are most important after reviewing the list or they can write in a special priority on the blank line labeled “Other”.
For couples, we have them each initial the top three so we can see differences between the two in terms of what they want to focus on. Some couples line up nicely in terms of the items of importance, but often there are differences. There are no right or wrong answers. These are personal priorities and by having each client identify their own, we know where to focus our efforts next in the planning work.
My good friend, Alex Green, has written 3 books. One of his most popular is titled “Beyond Wealth”. In this great book, Alex explores the idea that in the end, money is a tool, but the money in and of itself does not create happiness or satisfaction. The idea is you can be very rich, but if you don’t have friends & loved ones, pursuits of occupation to fill your days with valuable activity, or recreational activities to enjoy, you probably aren’t truly happy. Faking it may be because of the money, but probably due to not really living a fulfilling life.
Using the Waypoint FORMula, we follow a systematic approach to discovering what is important to you, gather information about the resources you have available and craft an understandable approach to implement, monitor and adjust your plan as you go through life and all the unforeseen twists and turns it brings.
As you are probably realizing by now, this is about much more than investment performance, asset allocation or the hot stock of the day. While performance and the appropriate allocation are important factors, they are only a part of a successful financial and retirement income plan that provides confidence that you will have the income necessary to achieve your personal priorities.
If the Waypoint FORMula process sounds like it may be helpful to you, call us today at 941-778-1900 to have a chat about your situation. If appropriate, we’ll schedule an introductory meeting to determine if we are a “Fit” for each other.