Why Many Families Don’t Plan, but Should
One of the most common reason for not planning is because people do not feel as if they have enough assets, or income. They are spending every paycheck and feel that they could not possibly have any left over to set some aside for retirement.
Additionally, procrastination can play a huge role in the decision not to plan. "I will, I will, I will," is one of the main statements financial planners hear when the need for planning is suggested. People even go to the trouble to attend seminars and try to understand the principles of financial planning. But when it comes time to sit down and plan, there is absolutely a million other things to do, like taking out the trash.
Fear of the high cost of planning is another reason. Few people have a real idea of what financial planning costs. Even fewer know that financial planning can be relatively inexpensive, especially for the returns that can be obtained with a bit of planning.
Horror stories that many have heard regarding the widow whose financial planner or money manager stole everything from her and is now living in the Cayman Islands, are also reasons many people have for not planning.
Finally, the most genuine reason for not planning is the simple lack of knowledge about true financial planning facts and information, from a source that is not biased, or not earning huge commissions. We can assist in evaluating planners or locating planners, and we even have certain planners that offer different means of payment and/or compensation, depending upon your choice. But, this website is designed to provide an honest assessment of the field, uncover some of the mysteries, discuss, in some detail some of the investment principles, and, in general, allow you to feel completely unpressured to do anything, if you do not want to.
Costs of Failing to Plan
Before deciding that one or more of the reasons above applies to you, let's look at the cost of failing to plan. There are many costs, to both you and your family, of not planning. Some include:
- Significant negative income tax consequences
- Significant Death [Estate] Tax liability
- Significant Penalties for Improper Investment Tools
- Disastrous Personal Consequences [e.g., loss of family home]
- Little or no money at retirement
- Confinement to Nursing Home
- Estate passes to Government Not Your Heirs
- May run out of money
All of these are real, yet all of these are often "put off" because they do not seem immediate, or because one may believe there is plenty of time to accumulate wealth "when I hit the lottery" or "when I get that new $200,000 job." The truth is, courts are full of cases in which sudden death or disability makes it impossible to reach one’s future goals, or to pass one’s estate onto their heirs.
Scaring people into action is not our goal, but addressing reality is. So let’s examine the field of Financial Planning, in case you someday start thinking about one or more of these costs of not planning.