Many advisors only tell clients half the story when it comes to planning for a comfortable retirement. They tell them to save.
But often, clients hear they have to sacrifice their day-to-day spending to do so. This increases the temptation to spend money using credit to avoid missing out.
And when a financial plan revolves around accumulating assets, clients may chase high investment returns to build a larger portfolio more quickly. This can lead to lottery-type behaviour and high-risk choices.
Instead, advisors should tell clients to find ways to earn more than they spend. For example, if a client enjoys dining out a few times a week, and that amounts to about $400 a month (or $4,800 a year), then get him to think about how he can earn money to pay for this expense, rather than how he can cut back. Perhaps dining out could become tax deductible.
This is exactly the type of thought process I instilled within a couple I work with. They are professionals with a combined six-figure annual income. But they still worried about whether they would save enough for retirement.
So they started a blog with restaurant reviews and earned advertising revenue from it. This resulted in a publisher asking them to write a book for tourists who visit the area. The couple was able to add royalties to their income. After a few years, they licensed this system, which taught people in other areas how to produce income and benefit their communities.
Here are the simple steps I followed to help this couple, and all my clients thereafter.
1. Help the client calculate the real cost of his ideal lifestyle.
2. Encourage him to come up with ideas for funding it. Ask him what particular expertise, experience or interests he has. Then get him to create a list of 10 ways he could earn $10. Often, clients will get stuck after five or six ideas because they think they get the concept and don't value the small $10 earnings. But this exercise is important because it helps shift a client's mindset.
3. Of course, the client will want to earn more than $10, so tell him to use this list as a jumping off point. Discuss it with him to see which ideas can be expanded to provide passive income to support his ideal lifestyle.
Also, demonstrate how earning income from his skills and interests is a lot easier than the time and capital he'd need to produce the same amount of income from savings.
For instance, to produce $10 per month from his investments, he must have $1,200 invested at 10%. But with a more current rate of 2.5% he'd need $4,800. To earn $400 per month, the amount of invested capital is $48,000 at 10%, or $192,000 invested at 2.5%.
So it'll be a long time before he has the money for that bi-weekly dinner.
And earning income doesn't mean a client has to sell something. In fact, a great idea is to retain ownership of an asset and earn income from renting, leasing, or licensing. For instance, the client could rent yard equipment, games, or books to his neighbours.
This process isn't about getting clients to find another job. Instead, it's about finding entrepreneurial projects that can provide them with passive income from something they love doing. It's okay if your clients aren't entrepreneurs by nature. Anyone can learn to develop an entrepreneurial spirit by being open-minded towards opportunity.
If you follow these steps, your clients can efficiently manage current income, create assets that produce immediate income, and increase their overall financial capacities throughout life.