Wealth Enhancement Plan
By Mark Wendell
The ambition of building true wealth might seem elusive for most people, even illusory considering that many people, who are sitting on six, seven or even eight figure retirement plans and home equity values, may still feel unprepared for a shift in lifestyle – that highly anticipated step called retirement. Envisioning that desirable future can be particularly difficult when people don’t feel like they have control over their financial future. However, wealth creation doesn’t have to be mysterious or ethereal, since it has always been an active process grounded in sound principles and practices that, when applied over time with discipline and patience, make it possible for people to feel empowered and driven to embrace the keys to building wealth.
Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
St. Francis of Assisi
If you give a few thousand dollars or an inheritance to a person who has no clear purpose in life, limited ambition or curiosity to learn about money as a tool and how to use it to get to a pleasing future scenario, what do you suppose they will do with that money? Yes, they will spend it, without considering future consequences of frivolously spending it for that which is wanted now, rather than saving it for that which will be wanted most in the future - retirement security. Absent a clearly defined destination and a clearly identified personal definition of what true wealth means, people are more likely to take their cues from friends or the consumption-based media and fail to prioritize saving for a harmonious future. The common result is that people take impulsive or irresponsible actions such as buying depreciable assets like cars, boats, airplanes, bikes, and toys; taking long expensive vacations; mindlessly opening personal ‘do-it-yourself’ investment accounts to feel a sense of control; and ‘playing’ the market to satisfy a get rich quick gambling instinct and the need to do something rather than nothing.
Wealth building is simply a process that begins with a clear written vision of what the ultimate goal of a ‘good life’ looks and feels like when achieved. The next priority is identifying and writing specific personal goals for the next 1-5-10-20+ year timeframes that will clearly lead to the grand finale of retirement. With each goal, action items to achieve that goal must be delineated. Some goals are named to protect and insulate against life’s bumps and disruptions. There is a difference between addressing inevitable, unpredictable events and reacting to them incoherently. When math is applied to it, a plan may be developed and strategies created to work toward a personally predefined wealth goal. By applying a wealth-building plan, people are more likely to stay true to their own personal vision and goals rather than become distracted with market volatility, economic troubles, personal issues, and the returns of market indexes. Employing experienced professionals to provide on-going guidance and counsel through life’s labyrinth journey, is a very effective method toward developing and implementing a personal wealth building plan. The guidance provided by professionals adds value by synergizing results of the steps necessary toward achieving the goal of a harmonious future that will ultimately culminate in a natural step to retirement and not a stressful worrisome leap.
Whether through chasing returns, naively taking risk, succumbing to market euphoria, fleeing with the herd during economic troubles, or simply procrastinating, too many investors allow their self deluding, self destructive behavioral tendencies to guide their investment and planning decisions. And too many people have perfectionist or control tendencies and attempt to ‘do it yourself’ or ‘never do anything’ because no one or no plan will ever measure up to be an acceptable, viable choice. As the old saying goes, those who undervalue themselves will undervalue others. However, by working with experienced professional Investment Advisors, a clear personal definition of what wealth means can be elucidated. By developing a personal retirement plan, by developing an optimum investment portfolio design while minimizing risks and necessary fees, by applying discipline and patience to a long-term investment strategy based upon sound principles such as diversification, dollar cost averaging, compounding, risk management, and income and withdrawal strategies, there is a much greater likelihood of maintaining a wealth enhancement plan on an upward trajectory.