A Financial Planning Strategy Made So Easy It Fits On An Index Card!
It’s been said that money can’t buy happiness, but it sure can give a person a sense of security in uncertain times. Today, many carry significant education debt as well as potential credit card debt. Usually, there is little or no personal savings to fall back on if needed. Active financial planning is important for everyone. The average 50-year-old American has assets of less than $50,000—and that includes the net value of their home. Many people have not saved adequately for retirement. At least a third of adults knowingly spend more than their means; two out of five households spend more than they earn in a year’s time.
Even those who understand the value of resilience, balance, and strategic career planning—as well as their future employability—still dig in their heels when it comes to active financial planning. They’ll say, “I don’t see how this is fundamental to my long-term, future employability. I’m resilient; I’m balanced. If I do well at the interview, what do my finances have to do with anything?”
One reason for ignoring this pillar of employability is fear and its focus on the “end game.” Most people don’t want to contemplate their own demise, perhaps because they were taught or coached to avoid focusing on “negatives.” So many people don’t wish to do any planning that presupposes their death. They’d rather put it off. “Why do this now? I have enough problems on my hands,” they argue. Alas, this mind-set leads to unwise behaviors.
They overlook the fact that being in an advantageous financial position provides leverage. Sudden career downturns are not as jarring. You have time to figure out where you want to go and what you want to do next. You are not desperate. So you do not have to take whatever comes along first.
Many find active financial planning to be daunting and complicated, but Harold Pollack of the University of Chicago has conveniently written everything you need to know about financial planning on a 4x6 index card. "Four years ago, in a blog conversation with finance writer Helaine Olen, I joked that the best financial advice for most people is available for free in the library and would fit on an index card. Then people started asking: “Where is the index card?” So I grabbed one of my daughter’s 4x6 index cards and wrote out some basic rules. I snapped an iPhone picture and posted it online. The whole exercise took maybe two minutes." explains Pollack. For those with big goals and modest means, Pollack's personal finance strategy is just for you!
Pollack also notes that financial coaches can to your advantage as "they help you methodically stay on a budget, work toward your financial goals, pay your bills on time and do other basic things right". The further that business and society move away from the era of lifetime employment, the more important active financial planning becomes in the lives of employable talent. Insurance and estate planning are part of the overall picture.
Many career professionals know that they need to be involved in these areas, but, as I mentioned before, they avoid it. Correspondingly, some organizations supply approved counselors to help their top executives with financial, insurance, and estate planning. Employable talent recognizes the value of having frequent dialog and ongoing relationships with at least one external professional advisor.
It’s never too late to put a plan into effect. Active financial planning is valuable to any worker at any age; even those close to retirement can make contributions to savings and investments and see their funds build up.
Dr. David Miles is Chairman of the Miles LeHane Companies, Inc. He is a member of the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD), a member and founding chapter President of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the Association of Career Professionals (ACP) and a Charter Fellow of the Institute of Career Certification International (ICC International), as the largest global non-profit certification Institute. Author of The Four Pillars of Employable Talent and Building Block Essentials. Follow David on Twitter @David_C_Miles.
Harold Pollack is an American professor at the University of Chicago who has been appointed to two Institute of Medicine committees. Author of The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn't Have to Be Complicated. Harold's origial article on the 4x6 index card strategy was published by the Washinton Post on July 7, 2017.