Financial wellness is the industry’s latest buzz word. So, what do Capstone and Joe Messinger have to do with the NFL? Joe had the pleasure of attending the Strategic Insight 529 Conference 2017 recently in Orlando, FL.
The 529 Conference is a gathering of 529 industry professionals. His partner at the “Key Trends in Financial Wellness and the RIA Channel” panel discussion was Jeremy Kelley, former NFL player. Today, Jeremy is the alumni manager for the Bills and works to help players with their life plans. Both Joe and Jeremy discussed the importance of financial wellness in our lives.
Most of us think of the NFL and immediately think of the huge salary players with their record breaking contracts. The reality is most players are journeymen traveling from team to team making the league minimum. Their careers only last for 3 or 4 years. Players are focused on their craft and like most Americans they have no financial education and possibly no career experience other than football.
What happens when they are done playing?
The sad truth is that many of them declare bankruptcy within just a few years of leaving the league. Jeremy Kelley is working to prevent that result. He connects players with resources and helps them develop a financial wellness plan for life after the NFL.
Football players are not the only ones who are never really taught about financial wellness. Most families are just trying to figure things out as they go along, the school of hard knocks. Wellness overall is a bigger process to a healthy relationship with money. We need to increase awareness of just what financial wellness is all about.
The number one financial concern of parents is paying for college according to a 2015 Gallup poll. When we talk about financial wellness, we are talking about a holistic approach to managing money, making smart choices, and having a plan. Not just for college financial planning, but for whatever life “throws” at you.
Families need to answer these questions:
- Do you understand your spending? What are you spending your money on? You need to be spending less than you are taking in to enable some level of saving.
- Do you have a budget? It will help guide your financial choices by coordinating your resources with your expenses.
- Do you have the benefits you need? Benefits can include the various types of insurance like health, vision, dental, life, disability, etc.
- Are you saving for emergencies? Experts recommend between 3 and 9 months of saved income in the event of an emergency like losing your job. Aim for the 9-month figure if another job would take longer to find.
- Are you working to eliminate debt? Attacking the problem aggressively?
- Do you maintain your accounts? Balance your checkbook? Pay your bills on time?
- Do you have a Last Will and Testament and estate planning documents in place?
- Are you investing in a retirement plan or additional investments? If yes, do you know the details of where it is invested, how much you have saved, how much you are investing, and continue to monitor it—checking in regularly?
- Do you need outside guidance? If yes, choose a financial advisor you can trust who has your best interests at heart. Not someone out to sell you a product that benefits them more than you. (We have a blog with some tips about choosing a financial advisor.)
We suggest going beyond the above list.
If a family has college-bound children, of course they need to include college financial planning. However, their college plan needs to be a part of a bigger financial wellness conversation.
Paying for college will probably be their single biggest purchase after the purchase of their home. We can’t afford to ignore it in their overall wellness picture. Are they using 529 savings together with cash flow, aid, tax strategies, and smart lending practices?
Our Capstone message is all about empowering clients with the knowledge they need to achieve the best balance they can. Financial wellness looks different for everyone, but creating a plan to consider all angles allows them the stability to “tackle” all obstacles that come their way so they can get “well” soon!