Your Investments: Would a 25-hour day help you manage finances?

Between work, raising children and wasting time on our smartphones, people never seem to have enough time to deal with issues of importance.

‘DON’T KILL time – it may be the most precious commodity we have.’ (photo credit: PIXABAY)
‘DON’T KILL time – it may be the most precious commodity we have.’
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
‘Hesitation is often like procrastination. One may have vague doubts and feel a need to mull things over; meanwhile, other issues intrude on thought, and no decision is taken. Ask people why they procrastinate, and you probably won’t get a crisp answer.” – Robert J. Shiller
On my flight back to Israel, I was watching a rather predictable movie. The plot isn’t important. What was important was the fact that the husband, who was a successful Microsoft executive, decided to leave the firm after his project was merged into another division. Why? Because he realized the error of his ways of being a workaholic and start focusing on his family. He realized that by working around-the-clock, he had neglected his daughter and was using his work as an escape from problems with his marriage.
Maybe its middle-age, but so many people I know complain they have less free time than ever and aren’t able to keep up with everything that has to get done. We are told that technological advances should help us free up more time, but that just doesn’t seem to happen.  I often hear people complain and say, “I wish there were 25 hours in a day!”
Maybe tomorrow?
Between work, raising children and wasting time on our smartphones, people never seem to have enough time to deal with issues of importance. How often do we push off important household chores because we just don’t have time?
The same is true when it comes to discussing ones financial situation. How many of us put off reviewing our investment portfolios or fail to ever get started because we can’t find an hour or two to get organized and understand what our goals and needs are, and then how to implement a strategy to achieve those goals?
The time is now
Leaving the garbage and taking it out later may lead to a short-term stench in the kitchen but nothing more than that. Not getting our finances in order can be extremely costly, and can have long-term negative consequences. It can mean the difference being able to marry off our children without going into debt, or not having to move in with your children when you retire because you have run out of money.
While we all like to procrastinate and promise ourselves that we will “get to it soon,” we never do. Myself excluded, most normal people will find the hour or two to go to the doctor if they are not feeling well; meeting with your financial adviser takes about as long, and will help ensure that your financial health is in order. Continued communication with your financial adviser will ensure that your investments remain consistent with your goals. That doesn’t mean that you need to speak every Monday and Thursday. It means that as your financial situation may change due to some life event or milestone, you should let your adviser know in order to make sure your portfolio is up to date with the new reality. An annual financial checkup should be scheduled to review your portfolio, and make sure that it is still consistent with your needs.
Plan Ahead
Before you meet with an investment adviser, broker, or other investment professional, it’s a good idea to map out your financial goals. Using an expert will help you decide how to invest your savings, but you should first have a firm handle of your short and long-term goals and needs. How much income you will need to supplement your existing pension, Bituach Leumi, or Social Security, to meet fixed expenses? Do you have children or grandchildren to marry off? Are your elderly parents in need of care?
You need to determine your own budget needs and your ability to tolerate risk first, and then ask your adviser what kinds of investments would best fulfill these goals. Use your adviser as a sounding board. The adviser can tell you if your goals are realistic, and if not, you can work together to come up with goals that can be achieved.
There is enough time in the day to get it done. Spend a little time now and get your finances in order. The earlier you do so, the more financially secure you will be in the future.
Aaron Katsman is author of the book Retirement GPS: How to Navigate Your Way to A Secure Financial Future with Global Investing (McGraw-Hill), and is a licensed financial professional both in the US and Israel.