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DEAR THOM

Thom's known for his calm, thoughtful ability to take the long view. He's seen economic tides rise and fall, he's learned from a few mistakes, and he's succeeded.

He's ready for your questions.

 

 

 


Dear Thom,

Financial planning scares me. Every time I think about it I feel like watching an episode of Antique Roadshow (I think I'm counting on Great Uncle Herbie's stamp collection to save my bacon). I know planning is a good thing, but I haven't been able to get started. What can I do?
Sincerely,
Nervous

 

Dear Nervous,

The great news is that when you look at something carefully, it's usually less frightening than you expected. In fact, the raison d'etre of good financial planning is to help you understand what you want from life, where you are now, and how you can get your resources working for you, even – sometimes especially – if you've somehow slipped into the red. Come visit. Bring a large shoebox of envelopes you haven't dared open. We are not here to judge: we're here to help! And we think Great Uncle Herbie would approve.
Thom


Dear Thom, 

I have made a mess of my finances. I don’t feel in control of my cash flow. I have bought some insurance I don’t think I need and my few investments are scattered all over the place. How can I get this cleaned up before I meet with a financial planner? 

Help!
Chaotic 

 

Dear Chaotic, 

You have a lot of company. It is not uncommon for people to come to us with unopened envelopes stuffed into shoe boxes. Once we have a fairly clear picture of what you want to accomplish, then our first job is to organize your finances. In the same way that you don’t want to clean your house just before the cleaning people come, don’t put any effort into getting your financial house in order – we’ll do that for you.
Thom
 


Dear Thom, 

I’m afraid that my kids will argue over our estate when we’re gone. We don’t have a big estate but I hear stories of families being split apart over almost any amount. Can a financial planner help or should we talk to an estate planning attorney? 

Worried Parent

 

Dear Worried Parent, 

Unfortunately, families do argue over even small estates. The cause of the problem is rarely amounts of money. Instead, the arguments stem from “Mom promised me ….” statements.  
A good financial planner will spend a lot of time getting to know you and your family. They will be in a good position to talk about the issues that may arise when your estate is distributed and they can advise you about ways to avoid these issues. If the planner does not have the skills to help you address a particular family issue, they will have resources to refer you to. 
A good estate planning attorney is critical for developing the legal documents needed to make your estate transition smooth and effective. However, it may be best to start the conversation with your financial planner.
Thom


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