Are you under 40 years old? 6 actions you can take to protect yourself.

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Wells Fargo has just shown the world that when you put sales goals, pressure, and the promise of the golden egg in the same pot, you are likely brewing a recipe for sales manipulation. The “Golden Egg” could take the form of bonuses, award trips, promotions, or other benefits given to high performers. Does that mean if an employee receives these things that they are a bad person? I would argue that it doesn’t. However, the HOW that person achieved these accolades should be looked at carefully. The question is how can you know if your person has gone about things the right way and with integrity? Wells Fargo, for example, was recognized as one of the most well-managed banks in the US. They had corporate arrangements with some of the most prestigious and respected firms in the world. So how did this gross negligence go un-noticed for years if not decades?

The answer: People assumed that they were out for the best interests of their customers.

The numbers seem to hint that just over one-half of Wells Fargo employees did things the right way and the rest succumbed to the pressures of their sales goals or perhaps in some cases they didn’t know better. Maybe they were the ones who were just doing what they were told to do, and they didn’t want to risk challenging the culture and losing their jobs. Most people notice that employee turnover is high in bank lobbies all over the country. Perhaps this has to do with how employees are treated and what they are asked to accomplish is not realistic.

It is now more important than ever that you protect yourself. The only way to protect yourself is to TAKE ACTION and responsibility for your situation.

Great marketers will tell you that they will make things easy for you, they will never tell you that you have to do work to get the results that you want. Guess what, when it comes to your finances he/she that snoozes… looses.

It is no longer okay to say that you don’t have to pay attention. In fact, in this digital world that we have created for ourselves we need to pay attention more than ever because people have access to us more than they have ever had access to us before. Now they can catch you when your tired, distracted, and not prepared.

Are you someone who takes action? Ask yourself these questions to see if you need to take more ownership of your financial life.

  1. When was the last time you pulled your credit report? I don’t mean that you got a copy when the bank pulled your credit last. I mean do you actively get copies of your reports from all of the credit bureaus and looked through it to make sure that it was accurate? Do you own a house or a boat in another state that you don’t know about? Check out creditchecktotal.com to do this for $1. -I am in no way affiliated with these guys or get paid for recommending them. I think they start charging you a subscription fee monthly if you don’t cancel after pulling your reports.
  2. Do you understand the investments that you own? I don’t mean that someone explained it to you once in about 60 minutes or less and gave you a book full of fine print disclosures. I mean do you know why you have that fund or stock or investment? You want to know more than how a given investment supposed to benefit you. Don’t you need to understand what the limitations are for your specific situation?
  3. Do the people that you deal with for your financial planning ever pat you on the head and tell you that you don’t need to worry about something or that it’s complicated and that you should trust them or the company that they work for? Do you ever get the feeling that your advisors are telling you want you want to hear? -BIG RED FLAG. Take it from me who has handled financial planning for hundreds of families over the last 11+ years. To truly help people you have to be able to put yourself (or at least imagine) that you are walking in your client’s shoes. Your advisor should spend just as much time on the negatives of a strategy or investment idea as what is spent on the features and benefits of an individual strategy.

If you don’t know the answer to the above questions, there is no need to continue down the page. Start scheduling time in your next week to find out the answers. If you want more ways to take ownership of your financial lives, then contact my office to schedule a free 30 min consultation.

4. Do you have a plan that makes sense to you? If not, why doesn’t it make sense to you? Wouldn’t you be willing to pay a few dollars to understand your situation? The beauty of paying someone to help in this department is that you know what you are getting in exchange for your money VS your advice coming from someone who is getting paid from a third party for selling you something.

5. Are you just doing what is easy? There is something to be said about taking the path of least resistance. Unfortunately, to set yourself up for future financial success you have to be engaged and willing to learn about new ideas and strategies and get them implement for you. Knowing is only half of the battle, implementation is the other half that is necessary to get you the results you want.

6. Do you bury your head when it comes to taxes? Again, you can’t assume that this is being done correctly for you or that you are doing it correctly using TurboTax or something similar. Most people’s situation have outgrown being able to do their own taxes by the time they have hit 30 years old unless you understand what you are doing. If you have special training in this area, Great! If not, hire someone who does and make sure they are explaining what they are doing for you so that you can understand what is going on.

If you have questions on how to find people that will do what is in your best interests. Feel free to call my office and we will get you on the schedule for a 15 – 30 min free consultation designed to get you moving in the right direction.

Appreciatively, Neil Maxwell, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, EA, specializing in financial advice for business professionals.