Financial Planning for Your Future: Tasteful Wellness Series

Boy do we have a treat for you guys today! As the first installment of our new Tasteful Wellness series, we are bringing you all the best tips for financial planning and your financial success as a new couple.

What is Tasteful Wellness?

My heart behind Tasteful Wellness, is to bring advice/tips/resources/experiences to newly engaged couples that has NOTHING to do with wedding planning. WHAT?! That’s right. No checklists or to-dos here… this is designed to help couples navigate ALL the other elements of this stage in life, like… oh I don’t know… your quality and wellness of your overall LIFE and your relationship. Over the past 8 years of being a wedding planner, I’ve seen couples stressed to the brink of breaking up or getting sick over wedding planning. And I’ve decided that life is too short and couples need some help! So stay tuned for more… but for today we have a Financial Planning expert Derrick Blanchette, from Trilogy Financial to answer all your questions and we even have an awesome freebie resource for you at the end!

I interviewed Derrick asking him all of your questions. On our Instagram stories last month, I asked YOU all what your biggest questions were in regards to finances, financial planning, etc and we have all the answers for you & more!

> Alrighty, Derrick – this one got asked the most! No one understands what a financial planner actually does haha -How would you sum up your job in a couple sentences?

I help families and individuals utilize their money as efficiently as possible to achieve the goals and desires they hold most important.

> Love that. What would you say is your number #1 advice for couples planning their wedding?

Have the finance talk and don’t hold anything back.  Make sure your budget coincides with your goals.  Don’t be afraid to spend and enjoy every day with your spouse.  Have a monthly financial date night.

> I love the date night idea! Such a great idea. What is the biggest misconception about your job?

Often times folks think all we do is manage investments and I’d say that is about 10% of my job.  We manage behavioral decisions that our clients make in regards to their finances. We live in a society where we are bombarded by marketers and advertisers to buy the fanciest things, and go on the most overwhelmingly beautiful vacations.  All of those decisions have a major impact on your long term goals and your retirement income.  Sometimes we make decisions like this for the wrong reason, like impressing that stranger at the red light with your shiny BMW (who you will never see again), or your high school crush who is watching your month long vacation on the sunny shores of Bali. 

> Haha so true! Or that cute outfit you saw on that fashion bloggers instagram that was so conveniently linked so you bought it straight from your phone… oh, is that only me? Okay, so speaking of… how do we spend less money?

Ha Ha, see above comment…    Budgeting is key.  100% of the time when a family is asked to budget there is this unknown black hole where discretionary expenses end up. I call it the “blow money.”  Nowadays it is so easy to have $20-$40 in monthly app subscriptions that we forgot about or don’t even use!!  Step 1 is build out your budget, label your critical expenses (utilities mortgage etc) and your non-critical.  You will find there are some expenses that you can do without.  (Sorry Spotify/Pandora/Youtube music/Apple music  I can only choose one of you!)

> Great advice! Now back to planning… how do I know I’m making the right choices for (retirement/family planning/etc)

Ask a professional. More importantly, make sure they are a fiduciary and that they know all of your goals and objectives. Talk about retirement travel. Talk about your living dreams, in state vs out of state, downsize vs upgrade. Every major life decision that happens between now and your retirement date is crucial.

> Can you break down for us what a fiduciary is?

At its core, a fiduciary is someone who is legally obligated to put the client’s interest in front of their own.  Sounds like a no brainer when picking someone as your personal advisor in regards to your retirement assets right?  There are a lot of requirements for someone to hold themselves as a Fiduciary, which means not a lot of advisors don’t actually act as one, so it is important that you ask them. A fiduciary has to be independent, meaning they can not offer proprietary products or be compensated with a commission.  They must also pass an exam to be held as a fiduciary and must maintain annual communication with their clients at a minimum.

> Wow – I never knew that! So good to know. How do I know which financial planner is right for me?

Interview them – you don’t want to switch it up – interview many and then you stick with them for life. So the first step would be finding financial planners. The best way to go about that is ask friends, family etc. Personal referrals are great. There is a level of trust already established. We’re sharing tips on what to ask them once you find a few to interview, but I recommend interviewing a couple, so get a sense of who you like best. Transparency is important!

> I never thought about interviewing a few before hiring. Such a great tip! How often do I meet with a financial planner? what is your follow up process?

The amount of communication really depends on the complexity of the planning that my client is in need of.  In some cases we get together once a year and communicate quarterly, in others we have quarterly in office meetings.  It is really up to the client. At minimum, the fiduciary standard is at least once a year.

> Okay, this is what everyone was asking… How do Financial Planners get paid?

This will depend on the advisor and what licenses they hold.  A Fiduciary carries a specific license that allows them to work in a “non-commission” capacity. Meaning, there is never a conflict of interest in what they recommend for their clients, it is objective and unbiased advice.  A fiduciary can be compensated via a flat fee in the assets that they manage for the client or an annual subscription (or a combination of both)

> Good to know! And lastly, what’s your favorite part about your job?

Helping clients visualize their plan and put it into action. When folks see the progress it really is emotionally fulfilling.  I have had clients with mountains of student debt, thinking they had no chance to ever pay it off, leave my office happily debt free and ready to tackle the next task at hand.  I have told families they can retire ahead of schedule and handed them tissues for their “Happy tears.” It is really unique that we get so involved with our clients and their journey through life, so to be a positive influence in that regard is truly my favorite.

I think my biggest takeaway from my interview with Derrick was, you don’t actually have to be super wealthy or a millionaire to have a financial planner! I was shocked actually. Turns out it’s a total misconception and if you are just starting out with your partner planning for a house and/or wedding planning – a financial planner just might be the best move for you! Start now – not when you’re older!

Derrick also put together helpful tips and interview questions for you when interviewing a planner yourself – get your FREE download here!

Looking for more material on this subject? Derrick recommended reading these books:

1. Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
2. Unshakeable by Tony Robbins

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