End of Year Strategies: Coordinate Your Financial Plans (Part 2)

December 8, 2016
DMD Staff

In Part 2, we examine more obscure but no less important steps, including one that many investors overlook.

, we outlined the importance of making sure you’re on the same page with your partner regarding 2017 financial plans. This is true of family partners and of financial planning partners. Primary among those communication needs is getting past the discomfort or laziness associated with simply not communicating, and scheduling some regular time to not only discuss your financial goals, but also measure your progress.

In Part 2, we’ll look at some slightly more obscure but no less important steps, including one that many investors overlook.

Celebrate Incremental Wins

Most of us hate chores, myself included. But one that I generally like is ironing clothes. The reason for that, I think, is that it yields an immediate and obvious reward. A shirt that was hideously wrinkled is now miraculously crisp and ready to wear. Gardening was never a hobby of mine. Too much work for too little—and too delayed—a payoff.

One key reason investing over the long haul is such a challenge is that the rewards for doing so are not immediately obvious. There is nothing more rewarding than an impulse buy. See. Want. Have. But often, those impulse buys prove unsatisfying, and they can derail a long-term investment strategy.

One way to avoid this is to create a rewards system for you and your partner for taking the more difficult, less immediately gratifying road. Maybe your reward is a short, on-budget getaway to a place you’ve always wanted to visit. Maybe it’s an extra day off from the rigors of dental care each week in the month of August. Maybe it’s as simple as a favorite meal prepared together, a hike in a nearby reserve, or a special bottle of wine saved for the right occasion. Giving yourself a little positive feedback now and again is often as important as any feedback you get from watching your investments grow. That growth will likely be slow and unsatisfying. Planning a small rewards system is an excellent way to keep on track without feeling like you’re living a life of austerity.

Be Prepared to Compromise

As a dentist, you may be the primary earner in any relationship, but that doesn’t necessarily give you the full authority over every financial decision. Hold your ground on the issues of greatest importance to you, but allow your partner to do the same.

Sometimes, the best aspect of a good compromise is simply sending the message that the other person’s input is important, too. That can often lead to better communication, and better retirement planning, down the road.

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