The folks at Mint.com interviewed me a few weeks ago about working with a financial planner, getting started on a financial makeover, and advice for beginners on investing.
When enlisting help to manage your money, what should you look for in a planner?
You should look for someone who will emphasize your goals as the starting point, and who acknowledges that life is messy, planning is imprecise and no one can see into the future. Your work with a planner should equip you to make ongoing decisions for yourself down the road by coming to a very clear understanding of your own financial situation, the direction you plan on heading, and the values that are important to you.
For someone who wants to start managing their money responsibly – whether they’re just starting a career in their 20s or getting ready to retire in their 60s – where’s the best place to start?
The best place to start is the place you want to end. There’s no sense in starting with a budget or a financial plan without being absolutely clear about what’s really important to you, what you’d like to accomplish and the values you want to build your life around.
What do you think are the biggest mistakes people make when creating a budget? How do you coach them to make a budget they’ll stick to?
People starting out so often make the mistake of believing that creating a budget will effect a change right away, and get discouraged the first time they get off track. Sticking to a budget is a matter of training and discipline, and it’s a rare person that gets it right the first time. My coaching is always to evaluate where they go wrong and be prepared to adjust course along the way, instead of throwing up their hands in frustration and giving up on purposeful spending…