I love getting my progress reports each week from Fitbit! Generally showing up each Tuesday morning via email providing me insight from the last seven days of activity. My favorite metrics are my average hours of restful sleep and resting heart rate. There are lots of metrics to track, however managing too many numbers tends to be counterproductive to my routine each week.
This accountability report provides real time assessments on how I am doing and where I’m heading. It is similar to our financial planning reviews completed throughout the year. Our agenda follows a predictable schedule each season covering specific planning themes. This strengthens our client relationships as each of us know what to expect when.
Our reviews often provide “homework” for clients to complete which increases the likelihood of their forward progress. Homework is accountability, just like the Fitbit progress report. It is the follow up and nudging to move in the correct direction based on priorities and new information.
Early in my career, I attempted to assist clients with a single meeting covering a diverse number of topics, that didn’t work out too well for either of us! My clients and prospective clients were very patient with me as I revised our process to stretch continuously throughout the year. I discovered separating planning themes created ongoing accountability. This encouraged clients to provide feedback on a reoccurring basis.
Reviewing sustainability and spending including what it takes to live now all thread into an interactive plan. As time passes the conversations become fluid as clients have more clarity on what they want. Empowered to make the necessary adjustments is what behavioral planning is. All of which may be linked back to accountability.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed with complexity when making financial and life decisions. Often, it is a temperature check as life plays out that’s most helpful in understanding where you stand now. Are you proceeding towards what is important? With added information, what next steps should be taken?
Checking in with your financial planner on three simple inputs in your control may provide ongoing accountability in your relationship together.
- What you choose to save today, think cash reserves for the near term.
- What you choose to invest today, think income necessary tomorrow.
- What you choose to spend today, think essential needs and fun.
That’s it. Reflecting back on saving, investing, and spending periodically is the sleep and heart rate score that matter in a financial plan. There are many more metrics but these three tend to influence your real-life success more than anything.
Keep it simple, keep the conversation open, go live your life! Behavioral planning and coaching is what we do and the foundation to accountability.
Advisory services through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Cambridge and Flowerstone Financial are not affiliated.