So, I met with a financial advisor…

‘Our goal is for you to become one of our high net worth clients…Keep talking please, ma’am, I’m all ears.

Fewer than 39% of Americans have enough cash set aside to cover a $1000 emergency, according to recent poll conducted by CNBC money.😱 Kind of a scary thought. Now that Andrew and I have our own little one, creating a successful financial plan for retirement (among other things) has become more real than ever. Building a house, investing, funding June’s college and being able to give, are all items which I’ll consider “works in progress”. The thing is, there is SO much information out there, in the financial world that it can be overwhelming. Asset allocation, low risk mutual fund, diversify your portfolio, IUL, whole or term life insurance, protecting your assets, Roth IRA, blended retirement system, thrift savings plan…all this financial jargon left my head spinning. Thankfully, we only scratched the surface during this initial meeting. The primary goal was to establish a relationship with ‘our finance gal’ and make sure it’s a good fit for all parties involved.

Because Andrew is currently deployed, I met with money gal solo. We figured since we are in the process of building a house, and would like to know how to invest our extra income – there is no time like the present to get the ball rolling. We decided to take the advice of some older friends (the husband is getting ready to retire from the military) and meet with an advisor from First Command Financial Planning. From the start of our meeting our financial advisor, whom we shall call ‘money gal’ seemed kind of shy. That’s odd, I thought. If you make money by getting clients to take your financial advice, I figured she would’ve been a real people person, especially considering talking finances can be a very personal subject. Anywho, she was super nice, but kinda had a hard time making small talk. Maybe she was thrown off by the fact that I was so close in age to herself? Whatever the case, I tried to make her feel comfortable and asked her questions about where she is from, how she ended up in CoVa, etc.

I think that made money gal feel more at ease because then she asked me similar questions. I shared with her that Andrew and I aren’t the typical military couple. He enlisted at age 30 (which is grandpa status for enlisted guys) and we had been married two years already. I also shared our personal views about money/investing – we are just $5,000 shy of being completely debt free (gotta pay off that truck), but…we are in the process of building our very first house🤗😲🤪 All the feels!

Andrew and I have been following Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps

  1. $1,000 emergency fund…Done
  2. Pay off all debt…Done (we will pay off truck on March 15)
  3. Save 3-6 months worth of living expenses…work in progress
  4. Invest 15% of household income in retirement…work in progress
  5. College fund…Done (Thank You GI Bill!)
  6. Pay off house early…haven’t started
  7. Give generously…work in progress

For us, investing seems so complex. We know there are more ways than one to do so, and we want to be confident in the choices we make, hence why we are seeking out expert advice. Money gal applauded us on the fact that we have such a minute debt-to-income ratio, especially the fact that we don’t have student loans or credit card debt. Yay us! Other than collecting our asset and liability information we didn’t dig too deep. Our major meeting will take place once Andrew returns from overseas.

Our primary goal in meeting with money gal before Andrew’s homecoming was to ensure we found someone we trusted, as well as make that first step and remain proactive. For us, taking control of our finances and making our money work for us always seemed like an abstract goal. Likewise, I think so many individuals feel you have to be ‘rich’ in order to have a financial advisor; nothing could be further from the truth!

Honestly, as silly as it sounds, I found several parallels between nutrition counseling and money counseling. Ironically, money gal asked my opinion on the keto diet/diets in general once she discovered what I do for a living, and I had this to say: nutrition is one those things that you can make as complex or as simple as you wish. Personally, my mantra is everything in moderation. If you are intentional about what you do on a daily basis, you’ll find success – it’s winning at the small things, that over time, results in big success. Trying to follow the latest fad or trend will usually result in short term success, but ultimately, you won’t find yourself much better off than where you started. Money gal put her hand on her chin, and replied, ‘you know, that’s really how the finance world works too.’

What a relief! I felt as I sat in the hot seat, (something I am NOT used to) I was being judged for any and every financial decision/personal opinion I shared with her. At least I had said something right. She must have been reading my mind because at one point during our conversation she said, ‘I think sometimes people have this notion they’re going to come to me and I am going to cast judgement or chastise them for various financial decisions they have made, but that is so not true. My goal is to help get them where they would like to be, no matter their history.’ How refreshing, I thought! Not to mention, so similar to my approach when working with individual clients on improving health and well-being.

So who knows, maybe Andrew and I will be one of those high net worth clients one day! Stay tuned for updates from meeting numero dos.