PICTURE YOURSELF OUT ON A BALCONY. How does it feel? What can you see now that you couldn’t see before you ventured out there?
Your perspective matters a lot. As an attorney, you can picture how often you began working on a case with some of the pertinent facts, knowing full well that you would need to flesh out your approach after you began to ask questions. You knew that you needed to better understand the big picture before you could help your client.
My job is to persuade you to join me on the Balcony in order to gain a new vantage point from which to see your own personal goals and overall financial situation. Getting onto the Balcony together will allow us some space to avoid life’s everyday demands, if only briefly. Work pressures and family obligations tend to keep us focused on the here and now as we create solutions to our immediate challenges.
Step out onto the Balcony with me to create time to exhale, time to address our own financial security, and the space needed to best envision the next chapter in our lives. There will be plenty of opportunities later to address the technical solutions – how best to invest, creating a financial plan, determining if insurance is needed. But the Balcony is not about the technical financial planning solutions; it is about providing the freedom to get into the right frame of mind in order to envision and grasp the big picture.
The Balcony is especially important to our role as financial transition specialists. A financial transition can be anticipated, as in the case of a planned retirement or a gradual reduction of our workload over the next few years. Alternatively, a transition can be abrupt, occurring without warning. Examples of the latter might include the termination of your law firm, or experiencing a stroke or other medical incapacity. Divorce or a sudden inheritance are other examples of transitions where decision-making can be impaired by the stresses of those circumstances.
During periods of transition, neuropsychologists tell us that there is often some level of cognitive impairment. If the transition causes stress, decisions are frequently made that may not be the best ones. You may feel pressure to make decisions, to solve a technical problem, or to determine yourself how to handle a major financial situation. Or, you can step out onto the Balcony with us as your thought partner to find some respite from the deluge of decisions needing to be made and to gain some perspective.
Silver Oak has unique training to start our conversations from the Balcony. While as professionals we all enjoy providing answers, while we are on the Balcony we pride ourselves in asking questions. Our initial role is not to solve problems but to be present as a thought partner. The technical solutions will come from us as they are needed. First, however, the view from the Balcony has to look right.
This article is from the Summer 2014 TRANSITIONS newsletter. To view the full version, please click here to read more articles written from our advisors.
Joel Framson, a Certified Financial Planner Practitioner®, draws on his experience as a CPA/PFS (Personal Financial Specialist credential) with a Master’s Degree in Business Taxation from USC in providing attorneys and affluent families expert guidance as they plan for and transition to a financially secure future.
More from our Summer 2014 Newsletter
- Reluctant to take charge of personal finance? You are not alone. – An overview of the unique challenges and advantages that women have that will effect their ability plan and realize their financial goals. Written by Linda Cao
- Approaching Retirement Is More Than a Life Change; It Is a Life Transition. – A guide to overcoming the natural angst that comes with planning your “second half of life” transition. Written by Eric Bruck