In the world of personal finance, you are the owner of the “team.'' It is your responsibility to chart direction and clearly state objectives.
Unlike a sports team where team leaders make time to discuss what worked and what did not, individuals rarely give their personal finances such a holistic view. Head coaches analyze performance and results with an eye toward accomplishing the team's objectives as directed by the team owner. This may include trading players, firing assistant coaches and generally shaking things up based on circumstances and overall team objectives.
In the world of personal finance, you are the owner of the “team.'' It is your responsibility to chart direction and clearly state objectives. These objectives could be to work forever, endow your children or spend cold winters in a tropical climate. Most people have some semblance of a team around them. Typical team members include an attorney, a CPA, an insurance agent or two, an investment person or two, a benefits person and so on. Each of these professionals would be appropriately described as assistant coaches asked to fill a specific role in your financial world.
Sometimes you receive conflicting advice from your expert advisors, leaving you confused about the actions you may need to take. This confusion can leave one or more of your team members scratching their head, or you might decide to do nothing because you are so confused about the conflicting advice.
What would be ideal for you would be to thoroughly understand all of your options. Each assistant coach's advice probably has some validity given their knowledge, but the conflicting advice needs to be reconciled with an action plan that best suits your situation.
If your money is your life's work, then being your own head coach may be the ideal role for you to play. But I must ask you some gut-checking questions before you declare yourself as coach of the year. First, name one professional team where the owner is also the head coach. While there may be a time or two in history where this has happened, there isn't a single championship team that can stake that claim.
Do you really believe that you are competent to judge all of your options and coordinate a team of experts to get your entire financial house in complete order? Many people believe that they are indeed competent to be the owner and head coach, and maybe what they don't know will never hurt them. But the smart move would be to find a seasoned personal financial head coach and let them do the driving for a while. You may like the ride.
John P. Napolitano is the CEO of U.S. Wealth Management in Braintree, Mass. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.