Tackling the Fear of Financial Planning

By Cristina Wiebelt-Smith, CPA, Associate Wealth Advisor

A few years ago, I realized many of my decisions were fear-based instead of focused on the positive. Something had to change, so I began to pay close attention to my words. Whenever I would say, “Well, I’m afraid…” or, “But, what if this happens?” I would stop and reframe my thought process. I made a deliberate effort to remove these thoughts from the equation to get to a better answer.

Before working at Gertsema Wealth, I worked in public accounting with tax preparation and planning. Whenever the Internal Revenue Service was involved, there was usually some trepidation – like the fear of not saving enough for the tax-filing deadline. Some would choose to ignore these worries until the last minute, but others took the proactive approach.

I often see the fear in others, whether from prospective clients, family or friends. For example, a new client came in for a planning meeting and told me she was afraid she and her husband hadn’t saved enough for taxes and that they picked the wrong 401(k) investments. They didn’t have anything saved for retirement, so they were scared to meet with an advisor because of what they would say. These were intelligent and successful people who have become paralyzed with the thought of not having a plan, but all they needed is someone to help them get started.

I hope I can put some of your worries to rest, because our job is not to tell you you’re wrong. We are here to answer questions, guide without judgment and empower you to make your own decisions. We will provide the information you need to become comfortable making your own decisions. But that doesn’t mean we’re one and done. Our process also includes annual planning sessions and portfolio reviews whenever you reach a new milestone or experience a life change – retirement, a move, college or illness, to name a few.

There are various benchmarks for saving for retirement, an emergency or a college fund. And, I think this is where a lot of the fear stems from – comparison. We’re here to guide you through creating the life you want, not the life someone else thinks you should have. We don’t plan for cookie-cutter lives. We prepare for real lives – yours, precisely, which doesn’t fit into a mold. Would you have it any other way?

It’s so freeing to have a plan, to know where you are and how you can get to where you want to be. We have the technology and experience available to help you create a proactive plan. We encourage collaboration with your CPA, attorney and insurance representative, so we have a 360-degree view of your financial picture. We want all the parts to work together in your best interest.

The financial piece of life can feel scary to many, and that is why we’re here. We strive to make the complicated simple. You don’t have to have it all figured out before you visit. Let go of the fear and give us a call.

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