The American Dream probably isn’t the same for everybody. I get that. However, I have clients who have loving families, their health, freedom and prosperity, and an overly pessimistic perspective.
Despite whatever good or bad that goes on in this world, we’ve still made amazing advances in technology, medicine, healthcare, genetics and more. The future is a super exciting place and I say, “Embrace it!” I am excited about the future and believe there are good things that will happen to us all.
Add “Stability” to the List
Part of achieving our individual American Dream is having stability through our planning process, which allows you to be in a position of accomplishing your own American Dream, whatever it may be.
Maybe yours is the white picket fence, a condo in Manhattan or a farm in the Catskills. Understanding what is achievable, what you can do, what you should try to avoid, and then putting that plan in place is one less thing you have to worry about when figuring out what “living the dream” is, and how it applies to your own version of the American Dream.
For example, at the Meredith Group, we start with understanding our clients’ needs, wants, wishes and goals. We provide an understanding of what our clients can do and what they can realistically achieve. Once we put MASTERPLAN® in place, we know we have provided the foundation upon which they can pursue their own American Dream.
Because we provide that financial stability, we have known people who’ve had everything line up perfectly for them financially and they are really set. I have a 20-year client, for example, who tells others (and me) how thankful he is for the work we’ve done for him. In fact, he even gets misty-eyed talking about it. Does that make me feel proud of what I do? You betcha!
Some Dreams Can Be Too Big
I received an email from a client telling me they wanted to buy a second home, and we told them not to do it. It was a short-term sacrifice, but in the long term they are happy to have the flexibility to retire comfortably and on their terms.
A line from my dad that I use all the time is, “We’re going to tell you what you need to hear, not always what you want to hear.” Sure, clients don’t always want to hear what we have to tell them, but they always need to hear it. There are so many times that I was thankful we had difficult conversations early in the process to align goals and expectations.
Having had years of hands-on experience, we can provide an analytical discipline process, rather than just personal opinion. We can actually map out the next 10, 20, 30 years and factor in variables like if one spouse dies early, or living beyond expectancy, or if inflation rises, or if the markets underperform. All of those potential outcomes come in to play.
Dreams Can and Do Change
Wants and needs change. Bad things happen. Health changes. I have a number of clients who were given bad health diagnoses. That alone has changed the plans. And we know how to handle those changes.
In the modern family, 52 percent end in divorce and that changes things. We’re right in there in the thick of things making changes with them. But it’s not a one and done; it is a continuous process of updating, whether the market’s up or down; whether inflation’s high or low; whether on the east coast or the west coast – or wherever your children moved.
Sometimes, the children graduate and you’re in Pittsburgh and they’re in Oregon. Maybe that changes your plans. Maybe you’re not going to buy the lake house on the Erie, you might be looking at a cabin out west somewhere.
Personally, I don’t have much to complain about, really. I have my family, my health, wonderful clients, friends and clients who are friends, and I’ve made some smart financial decisions. I’m living the American Dream.
I’m also thankful that I have the opportunity to help others achieve their American Dream through an unbiased, goal-based, financial plan.