The process of preparing for a predictable financial and life changing event
By Joan M Gagnon, Senior Wealth Consultant, Genesis Wealth Advisors, LLC
September 28, 2014
We have all heard stories about how a significant change in personal finances seems to change just about everything else in our lives. Expected or not, these shifts in our financial foundation are never just about the money we are about to receive. When it comes to financial transitions, there are no guarantees that more money will make our lives better. Without advanced and proper planning, we may find ourselves anxious and uncertain about how to handle the new opportunities at hand.
As professionals trained in managing transitions, what we know for sure is as we experience change life gets more complicated and challenging. You are not alone if you think that waiting for the money to arrive is the time to deal with the new possibilities and responsibilities; especially when the actual dates and amounts are not known. Why get all involved in planning for something that has not yet happened or may never happen?
The answer may surprise you. It’s because the transition has already begun. It started as soon as the potential life-changing event was identified. Waiting creates more complications because you’ve lost the opportunity to plan ahead.
Anticipating big changes in our circumstances can be overwhelming. It’s not unusual for people to put off the hard work of adjusting to changes ahead. Frequently, they are concerned with the new emotional and financial realities they face.
For example, Anita knows that her parent’s estate is being settled. She doesn’t know how long the process will take and isn’t really sure about what her inheritance will be. In the meantime, the upcoming inheritance has become a topic of conversation for her family. She, her partner and her children are all future spending, picturing things they hope to buy and where they will travel or live. Instead of bringing in an advisor trained in managing transitions, Anita is flying solo focusing on future possibilities. She has stopped saving for retirement and is no longer concerned about living within a budget.
The Anticipation Stage is a time when expectations are created. Without the advantage of a proven process that would give Anita a roadmap to manage these expectations, the end result can be messy and frustrating.
We’ve spent over a decade studying why and how major life events that could increase personal and financial well- being end up more complicated and demanding than imagined.
Our research and experience has led us to identify the Anticipation Stage as the first of four stages of Transition Planning. We call the pre-event planning process Priage. It is designed to give people a better foundation for managing their decisions, commitments and relationships once the expected life event happens.
As a result of our Priage process individuals find that managing changes in their financial circumstances are less stressful and more engaging. Some of the skills you may gain through this process are:
- Communication between you, your family, partner, advisors, and friends is more clear and productive. You learn how to sort your way through complicated decisions.
- You understand how to break things down into small steps and prioritize them. You know what to do when, and how to stop and change direction when needed.
- You have practiced how to uncover the real drivers behind your choices and actions. You save time, confusion and resources instead of taking a circuitous route with many stops and starts.
- You have thought through the expectations of others as well as your own. This makes it possible to set and reset expectations in advance rather than when all the action is taking place.
- You have thought through who is entitled to participate, and how, why and when.
- You have identified your inner circle. Financial transitions can be lonely and isolating, it is good to know who you can talk to.
- You know how to run ‘What If’ scenarios to test your ideas and hopes against financial limits. Doing this in advance gives you time to get creative and perhaps to find compromises with competing goals.
And what if the event does not happen and you have done all this Priage work?
You now have your own personal transition skill set. In the event your anticipated event did not happen, something else will. Life is about change and you now have the personal skills you need to thrive while life happens.
To learn more about Genesis, our solutions, and services please call (781) 344-1023, or e-mail us at email@example.com. You are also welcome to contact Joan Gagnon, the author of this article, directly at (781) 344-1023, ext. 1 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
And, please visit our website at www.genesisadvisors.com.
Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. All investments are subject to risk, including the loss of principal. This communication does not constitute investment advice and is for informational purposes only, is not intended to meet the objectives or suitability requirements of any specific individual or account, and does not provide a guarantee that the investment objective of any model will be met. The statements contained herein are based upon the opinions of the author and the data available at the time of publication and are subject to change without notice. Neither the information nor any opinions expressed herein should be construed as a solicitation or a recommendation by Genesis Wealth Advisors, LLC, or any of its affiliates to buy or sell any securities or investments or hire any specific manager.
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