This article has been shared widely since it was published a few days ago. I appreciate the perspective the author shares as a journalist who’s covered personal finance topics for 14 years. He has had to share many sad truths with his readers about how the majority of Americans are not saving enough for retirement, and how an increasingly complicated field of products and services leaves many Americans confused.
I agree with many of his comments and a lot of his lessons. I have a different takeaway from the article. It’s more proof that personal financial planning is more challenging than ever before and a trusted financial advisor is needed to help navigate the obstacles and set a proper course for people to reach their goals.
With all the tools and products that exist in the market, it is now possible to build a truly customized one-of-a-kind plan to help a client reach his or her financial goals. Annuities may be a bad idea for most investors, but for some, an annuity is exactly what is needed. Same goes for a reverse mortgage. Most people will never have a need for one. But for a select group of people, it may be a much-needed lifeline.
When someone gets their paycheck, they have lots of decisions on how to spend it. As a society, we spend too many of those dollars in the present and save very little for the future. Americans, in general, opt for things like a daily cup of coffee without realizing how much it adds up in the future ($3 a cup every workday for 30 years totals $23,400). They make these decisions all day long without realizing the kind of impact this has on their future.
This, again, is where a financial advisor can help. We often help to coach our clients in deciding how to pay off debts and nudge them into saving a little more for retirement. In a sense, we are advocating on behalf of their future self. And when market volatility returns, we are there to coach them to stay the course with their investment strategy.
To summarize, Roberts article provides a great perspective. I just wish he talked about how a financial advisor can help to provide guidance on many of these decisions that most Americans struggle to solve on their own.