Imagine that you’re playing in the Super Bowl: You’re the quarterback, on the opposing team’s 10-yard line, and the ball’s hiked to you. You look up and suddenly realize you’re all alone – your team is gone; it’s just you, and the entire defensive line is charging toward you like a herd of angry rhinos.
If you’ve ever felt that way when managing or contemplating your finances, one thing is clear: You need a better team. Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden once said, “The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.” If you want to achieve financial stardom, you first have to put together your financial team. Here’s who you need:
Team Member 1: Your Spouse
If you’re married, your most important team member is your spouse. The two of you shouldn’t be working against each other, pulling in different directions. You have to learn to communicate, share openly, make decisions together and pull in the same direction. This takes practice, compromise, and patience, but you’ll never be successful together if you’re not working together.
Team Member 2: Your Children
As members of your family, the little munchkins have tremendous influence over your financial decisions. As you involve them in your finances (at an age-appropriate level and time), they can begin to grasp and even contribute to your family’s financial goals. And don’t forget: Soon you’ll be handing the ball off to them, and they’ll need to know how to run with it.
Team Member 3: Your Friends
Why would you want your friends to join your financial team? Because we tend to spend a lot of money when we’re with our friends.
A recent financial coaching client of ours – we’ll call her Jan – had a friend who would come over several days a week and eat her food, drink her wine, etc… I had Jan explain to her friend how she was working hard to get out of debt and meet her financial goals, and that she needed to cut back on some of these expenses. Her friend understood completely, and even offered to pitch in for food and wine to share. The friend later became a coaching client as well, and is now working hard at becoming debt free.
The moral of the story is that your true friends will be more than happy to help you achieve the goals you’re working toward, which makes them great to have on your team.
Team Member 4: Your Financial Coach
Imagine any sports team going into the big game with no coach and no direction. When you’re undertaking a huge mission – such as becoming debt free – you need someone in your corner to draw out the best in you, hold you accountable, push you to meet your goals, and help ensure that the rest of the team is working well together, which is exactly why having a financial coach is so important.
The following teammates won’t be called into the game very often. But when you need them, you’ll be glad you have them.
Team Member 4: Realtor
If you own a home or want to someday, you need to know a good, butt-kicking Realtor. Find a Realtor who’s been in the business at least 5 years, is an expert in your neighborhood, and has a reputation for working tenaciously to get his or her clients the best deal possible.
Team Member 5: Investment Adviser
Once you’re debt free and have your emergency fund in place, you might decide to meet with a licensed investment adviser. You should look for a seasoned adviser who has experienced the ups and downs of the market. You want an adviser whose investing philosophy consists of diversification, investing for the long-term, and mutual funds with a long history of success. I also recommend working with a commission-based adviser and funds, as they tend to be less expensive in the long run.
Team Member 6: Insurance Agent
Home, Auto, Health and Life Insurance are non-negotiable necessities. You need to know and develop a relationship with a seasoned, licensed insurance agent or broker. You want an agent who will take the time to teach you about your options and will recommend products that are good for you, not for their wallet.
Team Member 7: Tax Adviser
There are two things I know about the IRS: You don’t want to pay them more than you owe, and you don’t want to tick them off. For those reasons (and more), it’s imperative that you consult with an ethical, knowledgeable tax adviser, such as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), every tax season.
I have no doubt that you can win this game and reach financial stardom. But you can’t do it alone, and you can’t do it without the right team. Start recruiting now!
Who else do you suggest be a part of your financial team? Is there anyone you think doesn’t belong on this list? Weigh in below!
Have a tricky question Clint and Katy can answer about your finances?
Email it to Editors@PerkStreet.com
Clint and Katy Davis are PerkStreet Customer Columnists and founders of Davis Coaching. As financial coaches, their passion is helping people become and stay debt free! Their personalized coaching is designed to help you get your financial life where you want it to be. Like personal trainers for your finances, they can help you develop a specific plan to achieve your goals, and provide the expertise and accountability to get you there. If you’re ready to take control of your financial life, visit Davis Coaching online, check out the Davis Coaching blog, and connect with Clint and Katy on Twitter and Facebook.
Photo: JT Cattelan