Raskin Planning Group

5 Big Planning Mistakes to Avoid in 2015

{Time to Read: 5.5 minutes}

As we start the 2015 calendar year, consider this list of behavioral mistakes to avoid. By avoiding these mistakes, you will have a much better chance of meeting your long-term financial objectives.

Expect the unexpected, but don't be fearful of the unknown and paralyzed into inaction. Take appropriate risks.

Is your glass half-full or half-empty? Neither approach is always appropriate. Excessive optimism is a problem if you don't consider the consequences of losing a job or having a significant loss of income. Excessive pessimism is a problem if you are convinced that terrible things will happen and you keep your investments in no-risk or low-risk investments that barely keep up with inflation.

Don't let emotions overwhelm your financial planning decisions.

Take a deep breath and relax. Don't make financial decisions based on emotions. The stock market, the real estate market, the commodities market, etc. aren't as good or as bad as they appear. Sometimes the best course of action is inaction. During periods of transition (death of a spouse, retirement, divorce, becoming an empty nester, inheriting assets) take your time and make deliberate decisions. Ask for advice from trusted and objective professionals, not friends and relatives.

Don't get emotionally attached to assets. Relationships and memories outweigh things.

Enjoying today while planning for tomorrow is a balancing act. Cars, jewelry, art work, etc. are beautiful things that may give us immediate pleasure. More so, assets such as stocks, bonds and real estate may actually produce income that helps meet your financial goals, BUT the asset itself isn't that important. While the second home is a significant asset, aren't the memories made in that home more relevant than the asset itself?

Invest in experiences by spending time with family and friends. Focus on pleasurable activities that offer opportunities to build and sustain relationships. Participate in communities (religious organizations, clubs, book-reading groups, political organizations) that help you find new relationships and keep you connected to old relationships.

Confidence is a tremendous personal asset that is encouraged, but overconfidence is a trait we should avoid. Question what you know and be concerned about what you don't know.

Smart, motivated people that have successful academic or professional track records are often knowledgeable about many things financial. They may have lots of experience with investments, the law and tax issues, but do they know as much as a true professional who deals with these complex problems on a daily basis? Making an incorrect assumption may result in a very expensive mistake.

The little mistake may be paying for a service you could have done yourself, but the big mistake may be trying to do it yourself.

Don't procrastinate. Take care of the easy, important things.

It feels really good to cross to do’s off your list. Everyone is busy. Sometimes we take urgent care of relatively minor problems, but avoid the important, big things that aren't that difficult to resolve. It is easy to put off dealing with things that don't give us immediate pleasure. Estate planning, insurance, increasing retirement saving contributions, etc. just aren't as much fun as planning a vacation or attending a sporting event. Make a financial planning "to do list" and check off items each month. Since financial planning is a never-ending process, you are likely to be adding items to your list throughout the year. Hopefully, over your lifetime, the list will get shorter, not longer.

At the Raskin Planning Group, we help our clients meet their goals by helping them avoid the "big mistakes." We help you consider how the unexpected might affect your future. We are objective advisors. We help you focus on your goals so you can enjoy what is important to you. Decades of experience gives us a realistic view of the financial world. We help you take care of the important things in your financial life, so you are able to focus on what gives you the most pleasure.

Peter Raskin is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Securities offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a broker-dealer (member SIPC). Investment advisory services offered through Sagemark Consulting, a division of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a registered investment advisor. Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies. 125 Summer Street, Suite 1400, Boston, MA 02110 617.728.7444. Raskin Planning Group is not an affiliate of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. CRN-1090831-010615