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November 03, 2007


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As one who has a high baloney filter, I've stripped out the treacly fluff and picked the meat from the quote...

It is somewhat akin to (and I know I'm stating the obvious):
ooh ooooh pickmepickmepickme

If this bit of advice were from a common joe, I might feel differently about it. In the meantime, if you're looking for sound advice on blog commenting, you should pick a online life advisor (a person who comments on a blog, but will sort through your feed for blogs that you're interested in).

Great series, great blog- I'm looking forward to the next installment!

psychobabble is right! I read the article and not 3 authors/excerpts later in the article it was summed up

"Peter Navarro, Ph.D., author of "The Coming China Wars: Where They Will Be Fought and How They Can Be Won," and associate professor of economics and public policy at the University of California, Irvine:

"Take every piece of advice you get from any investment adviser with a barrel of salt. Most are trying to sell you things that you probably don't need or want. Think for yourself."

Navarro says he learned that lesson after a bad experience with a financial adviser. "I lost some money, then took control and never looked back," he says."

George Kinder runs an organization that is one of the world-wide leaders in training life planners so they can become "registered life planners." In fat when I searched on registered life planners the kinder institute is about the only one I could find. What's more laughable than his sketchy and vague advice is the flagrant self-promotion that paying his organization for training or hiring someone trained there is the absolute best financial advice he can think of.

I actually think I'm more let down by bankrate and yahoo finance for even allowing hacks like that to be in the same article with much more respected people(even though I'm not 100% on board with all of them). One of the reasons I got into reading PF blogs was because of the questionable and overly generalized advice that is often in books and on finance websites.

nice post, thnx. Also, can u pls offer the option to subscribe by e-mail as well. Many ppl (incl me) find that option better because I don't really like the feed reader............

It sounds like he is trying to sell financial planners. That idiot.

I don't know that I agree with his point about needing to hire a registered life planner. However, I do think there is a good point to walk away with here. I'll use my personal situation to illustrate.

I'm 23 years old. I have severe liver, kidney, and heart damage. I'm not a candidate for a transplant. My options are really fairly limited. The doctors can't give me a good estimate on how long I have, and whether I've got 6 months or 10 years. Medicine comes a long way, and what is a big deal now may not be 10 years down the road. There's a fair amount of uncertainty about my making it to midlife, let alone retirement. So if I try to set up a financial plan that's focused on making my retirement years comfortable but requires a lot of sacrifices now, I'm much more likely to abandon the plan.

The larger impact is that most people, when they commit to something and then "fall off the wagon," they do so in a big way. Very few dieters hop immediately from one diet plan to another, they go on an unrealistic plan, get frustrated and go to the other extreme. Financial plans are similar - if I decide I'm fed up with my plan, I'm much more likely to stop watching my spending and go on a splurge because I think "planning isn't working out for me" instead of thinking "THIS specific plan isn't working out for me."

That's a long winded way of saying that I don't think the default goals that a lot of financial bloggers propose (get out of debt, have a savings fund, then start maxing out IRA/401ks and invest for the day you stop working) should be adopted without considering your priorities in life. Set yourself up to succeed, not fail because you're trying to change not only your life habits, but your life goals all in one fell swoop.

I agree that registered life planner is more self promotion than anything but fundamental questions are important. What do you really want and what is it worth to you to get it? So much of planning is focused on becoming tremendously wealthy in the distant future at the expense of the present day in direct contrast to the consumer society which is enjoy it now, come what may. A sense of balance is needed to craft the best life for a person, not just the best retirement or the best here and now. While our wishes may or may not be obvious to us, they are likely to differ from those of everyone else, so while a one size fits all plan is a starting point, it should hardly be the endpoint.

I am a fee-only planner that belongs to NAPFA, just like George Kinder, so you can take this with a grain of salt (or a barrel as Peter Navarro says). What Kinder advocates is really examining the question "what for" not just "how much."

So many people assume their future will be nothing more than a extension of their present. Or, they assume retirement will be filled with golf and shuffle board. Even worse, one spouse may have a completely different vision for the future than the other.

Kinder attempts to discover what his clients truly want out of life and to align their money with their values. If you have a vision for your future, Kinder's ideas probably sound like psycho-babble. But, you would be amazed how many people have never really thought about what they want their life to look like.

As a planner, I have helped people crunch numbers. It is satisfying to help folks that way, but I have gotten much more satisfaction when I have helped someone change their belief about money or find a deeper calling such as charitable work/givings or pursuing a different career or business.

Raj --

Look down on the left hand side of this blog a few pages down and it gives the option of subscribing by email.

I agree with "it's about the meaning, not the money," but I totally disagree with the outrageous assertion that "nobody can do this themselves."

The idea that you need to pay someone to figure out what your values are or what your goals are is ridiculous.

But obviously your financial habits--including investing--need to be tied to what's really important to you (and they usually are, whether you realize it or not).

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