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I'm a financial planner, and there are 5 pieces of money advice no one ever wants to hear from me

Published by Business Insider on Tue, 04 May 2021

<p><img src="https://static4.businessinsider.com/image/5f514c1ae6ff30001d4e6f74-2400/eric%20roberge%20headshot%20compressed.jpg" border="0" alt="Eric Roberge Headshot COMPRESSED" data-mce-source="Beyond Your Hammock" data-mce-caption="Eric Roberge, Beyond Your Hammock"></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>You know how adults always told you to "eat your veggies" and greens when you were a kid' Well, that nagging advice doesn't necessarily stop in adulthood. As a financial planner, I'm constantly giving people good advice they don't want.</p><p>I know no one wants to hear this kind of money advice. But those who do listenand more importantly, implement these ideastend to have better control over their cash flow, higher savings rates, <a href="https://beyondyourhammock.com/32-2/">and more financial power</a>.</p><p>You might not like it, but much like eating broccoli and kale, taking it in is often for your own good.</p><h2>1. Don't buy so much house</h2><p>Buying a home is rarely a data-driven decision. It's an emotional one, and for good reason. For many people, homeownership represents stability, security, and even status.</p><p>These are not unimportant things, but too many people use their emotions as excuses to throw financial reality out the window when it comes to house hunting.</p><div><style>.formcontainer { display: -webkit-flex; display: flex;}#logbox { margin: 50px auto; width: 100vw;max-width: 800px; background-color: #fff; -webkit-border-radius: 4px; -moz-border-radius: 4px; -ms-border-radius: 4px; border-radius: 4px; -webkit-box-shadow: 0 1px 5px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.25); -moz-box-shadow: 0 1px 5px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.25); box-shadow: 0 1px 5px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.25);margin-bottom: 0px;margin-top: 0px;}h1 { text-align: center; font-size: 175%; color: #757575; font-weight: 300;}h1, input, label { font-family: "Open Sans", Helvetica, sans-serif;}label{ display: inline-block; margin-bottom: 5px; width: 80%;}input, select { width: 75%; height: 40px; display: block; margin: 0 auto 15px; padding: 0 15px; border: none; 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margin-top: 5px;}.label{width: 80%; margin-left: 3%; margin-bottom: 15px; font-size: .6em;}.formheader{margin-bottom: 10px; margin-top: 2.15rem; font-size: 1.2em !important; line-height: 1.22; width: 80%; text-align: center; margin-left: 10%;}option{}</style><div class="formcontainer"> <div id="logbox"> <form id="signup" action="https://event.on24.com/utilApp/r" method="POST"><!-- END DO NOT MODIFY> <!-- ADD THE EVENT TITLE HERE --> <h1 class="formheader">Register For Master Your Money: How to control your debt, build your credit, and set yourself up to build wealth</h1> <!-- ADD THE EVENT ID IN VALUE - e.g value="{event_id_here}"--> <input id="reg_eventID" class="input pass" type="hidden" name="eventid" value="3092508"><!-- ADD THE EVENT KEY IN VALUE - e.g value="{event_key_here}"--><input class="input pass" type="hidden" name="key" value="4B725D535CACF65DE17D84DAC075B1EE"><!-- DO NOT MODIFY--><input class="input pass" type="hidden" name="partnerref" value="article_embed"><!-- END DO NOT MODIFY --><!-- FIRST NAME FIELD --><input class="input pass" type="text" name="firstname" placeholder="First Name" required data-value-missing="Required"><!-- LAST NAME FIELD --><input class="input pass" type="text" name="lastname" placeholder="Last Name" required data-value-missing="Required"><!-- EMAIL FIELD --><input class="input pass" type="text" name="email" placeholder="Email Address" required data-value-missing="Required"><!-- COMPANY FIELD --><input class="input pass" type="text" name="company" placeholder="Company" required data-value-missing="Required"><!-- JOB TITLE FIELD --><input class="input pass" type="text" name="job_title" placeholder="Job Title" required data-value-missing="Required"><!-- WORK PHONE FIELD --><!--<input class="input pass" type="text" name="work_phone" placeholder="Phone Number" required=&ldquo;&rdquo;>--><!-- STATE FIELD --><!--<input class="input pass" type="text" name="state" placeholder="State" required=&ldquo;&rdquo;>--><!-- COUNTRY FIELD (make sure to uncomment/comment at the closing </select> tag, which is right below Zimbabwe in the country list--><!--select id="reg_country" class="input pass" type="text" name="country" placeholder="Country" required data-value-missing="Required"> <option value="AF">Afghanistan</option> <option value="AX">&Aring;land Islands</option> <option value="AL">Albania</option> <option value="DZ">Algeria</option> <option value="AS">American Samoa</option> <option value="AD">Andorra</option> <option value="AO">Angola</option> <option value="AI">Anguilla</option> <option value="AQ">Antarctica</option> <option value="AG">Antigua and Barbuda</option> <option value="AR">Argentina</option> <option value="AM">Armenia</option> <option value="AW">Aruba</option> <option value="AU">Australia</option> <option value="AT">Austria</option> <option value="AZ">Azerbaijan</option> <option value="BS">Bahamas</option> <option value="BH">Bahrain</option> <option value="BD">Bangladesh</option> <option 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<option value="ER">Eritrea</option> <option value="EE">Estonia</option> <option value="ET">Ethiopia</option> <option value="FK">Falkland Islands (Malvinas)</option> <option value="FO">Faroe Islands</option> <option value="FJ">Fiji</option> <option value="FI">Finland</option> <option value="FR">France</option> <option value="GF">French Guiana</option> <option value="PF">French Polynesia</option> <option value="TF">French Southern Territories</option> <option value="GA">Gabon</option> <option value="GM">Gambia</option> <option value="GE">Georgia</option> <option value="DE">Germany</option> <option value="GH">Ghana</option> <option value="GI">Gibraltar</option> <option value="GR">Greece</option> <option value="GL">Greenland</option> <option value="GD">Grenada</option> <option value="GP">Guadeloupe</option> <option value="GU">Guam</option> <option value="GT">Guatemala</option> <option value="GG">Guernsey</option> <option value="GN">Guinea</option> <option value="GW">Guinea-Bissau</option> <option value="GY">Guyana</option> <option value="HT">Haiti</option> <option value="HM">Heard Island and McDonald Islands</option> <option value="VA">Holy See (Vatican City State)</option> <option value="HN">Honduras</option> <option value="HK">Hong Kong</option> <option value="HU">Hungary</option> <option value="IS">Iceland</option> <option value="IN">India</option> <option value="ID">Indonesia</option> <option value="IR">Iran, Islamic Republic of</option> <option value="IQ">Iraq</option> <option value="IE">Ireland</option> <option value="IM">Isle of Man</option> <option value="IL">Israel</option> <option value="IT">Italy</option> <option value="JM">Jamaica</option> <option value="JP">Japan</option> <option value="JE">Jersey</option> <option value="JO">Jordan</option> <option value="KZ">Kazakhstan</option> <option value="KE">Kenya</option> <option value="KI">Kiribati</option> <option value="KP">Korea, Democratic People's Republic of</option> <option value="KR">Korea, Republic of</option> <option value="KW">Kuwait</option> <option value="KG">Kyrgyzstan</option> <option value="LA">Lao People's Democratic Republic</option> <option value="LV">Latvia</option> <option value="LB">Lebanon</option> <option value="LS">Lesotho</option> <option value="LR">Liberia</option> <option value="LY">Libya</option> <option value="LI">Liechtenstein</option> <option value="LT">Lithuania</option> <option value="LU">Luxembourg</option> <option value="MO">Macao</option> <option value="MK">Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of</option> <option value="MG">Madagascar</option> <option value="MW">Malawi</option> <option value="MY">Malaysia</option> <option value="MV">Maldives</option> <option value="ML">Mali</option> <option value="MT">Malta</option> <option value="MH">Marshall Islands</option> <option value="MQ">Martinique</option> <option value="MR">Mauritania</option> <option value="MU">Mauritius</option> <option value="YT">Mayotte</option> <option value="MX">Mexico</option> <option value="FM">Micronesia, Federated States of</option> <option value="MD">Moldova, Republic of</option> <option value="MC">Monaco</option> <option value="MN">Mongolia</option> <option value="ME">Montenegro</option> <option value="MS">Montserrat</option> <option value="MA">Morocco</option> <option value="MZ">Mozambique</option> <option value="MM">Myanmar</option> <option value="NA">Namibia</option> <option value="NR">Nauru</option> <option value="NP">Nepal</option> <option value="NL">Netherlands</option> <option value="NC">New Caledonia</option> <option value="NZ">New Zealand</option> <option value="NI">Nicaragua</option> <option value="NE">Niger</option> <option value="NG">Nigeria</option> <option value="NU">Niue</option> <option value="NF">Norfolk Island</option> <option value="MP">Northern Mariana Islands</option> <option value="NO">Norway</option> <option value="OM">Oman</option> <option value="PK">Pakistan</option> <option value="PW">Palau</option> <option 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value="WS">Samoa</option> <option value="SM">San Marino</option> <option value="ST">Sao Tome and Principe</option> <option value="SA">Saudi Arabia</option> <option value="SN">Senegal</option> <option value="RS">Serbia</option> <option value="SC">Seychelles</option> <option value="SL">Sierra Leone</option> <option value="SG">Singapore</option> <option value="SX">Sint Maarten (Dutch part)</option> <option value="SK">Slovakia</option> <option value="SI">Slovenia</option> <option value="SB">Solomon Islands</option> <option value="SO">Somalia</option> <option value="ZA">South Africa</option> <option value="GS">South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands</option> <option value="SS">South Sudan</option> <option value="ES">Spain</option> <option value="LK">Sri Lanka</option> <option value="SD">Sudan</option> <option value="SR">Suriname</option> <option value="SJ">Svalbard and Jan Mayen</option> <option value="SZ">Swaziland</option> <option value="SE">Sweden</option> <option value="CH">Switzerland</option> <option value="SY">Syrian Arab Republic</option> <option value="TW">Taiwan, Province of China</option> <option value="TJ">Tajikistan</option> <option value="TZ">Tanzania, United Republic of</option> <option value="TH">Thailand</option> <option value="TL">Timor-Leste</option> <option value="TG">Togo</option> <option value="TK">Tokelau</option> <option value="TO">Tonga</option> <option value="TT">Trinidad and Tobago</option> <option value="TN">Tunisia</option> <option value="TR">Turkey</option> <option value="TM">Turkmenistan</option> <option value="TC">Turks and Caicos Islands</option> <option value="TV">Tuvalu</option> <option value="UG">Uganda</option> <option value="UA">Ukraine</option> <option value="AE">United Arab Emirates</option> <option value="GB">United Kingdom</option> <option value="US" selected>United States</option> <option value="UM">United States Minor Outlying Islands</option> <option value="UY">Uruguay</option> <option value="UZ">Uzbekistan</option> <option value="VU">Vanuatu</option> <option value="VE">Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of</option> <option value="VN">Viet Nam</option> <option value="VG">Virgin Islands, British</option> <option value="VI">Virgin Islands, U.S.</option> <option value="WF">Wallis and Futuna</option> <option value="EH">Western Sahara</option> <option value="YE">Yemen</option> <option value="ZM">Zambia</option> <option value="ZW">Zimbabwe</option> </select!--><!--THIS IS THE MAIN OPTIN CHECKBOX--><input class="input pass check" type="checkbox" name="std1" id="std1" value="Y"><label for="std1"><div class="label">Yes, I agree to receive marketing emails from Insider Inc. and Fidelity Investments and accept the <a href="https://www.insider-inc.com/terms">terms and conditions</a>, <a href="https://www.insider-inc.com/privacy-policy">Privacy</a>, and <a href="https://www.insider-inc.com/cookie-policy">Cookie Policies</a> and agree to receive marketing emails from Insider Inc. You can opt-out of emails at any time. Registration information will only be shared with the event sponsor.</div></label> <!-- END MAIN OPTIN CHECKBOX --> <!--THIS IS A SECOND OPTIN CHECKBOX --> <!--<input class="input pass check" type="checkbox" name="std2" value="Y"/><label for="std2"><div class="label" >Yes, you agree to have your contact information, including email and phone number, passed on to Salesforce for the purpose of following up on your interests.</div></label>--> <!-- END SECOND OPTIN CHECKBOX --> <!-- DO NOT MODIFY--> <input class="inputButton" type="submit" value="Register Now" id="inputButton"></form> </div> </div></div><p>Set a budget and stick to it. We often recommend keeping your total annual housing costs to <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/personal-finance/things-always-tell-my-clients-before-buying-home-2021-4">no more than 20%</a> of your gross annual household income.</p><p>This helps ensure you retain flexibility in other areas of your cash flow so that you can own your home and keep pursuing other important goals or have money available for your other priorities.</p><h2>2. And don't assume your house is a good investment</h2><p>I often caution people against thinking of their home as an investment. Again, that doesn't mean buying is a bad idea or your house isn't worth as much as you think it is. But an investment should provide a return.</p><p>A single-family home that serves as your primary residence (and does not provide rental income) may be an excellent utility. It is not, however, what I would consider a good investment.</p><p>Home values do tend to rise over time, but the cost of ownership, maintenance, and upkeep often erode most of the "gains" you might see when just looking at the transaction of buying and then selling your home on paper.</p><p>A reasonable, real return on single-family homes runs about 2%. That's not nothing, but it's also not something you can assume will fund your full retirement, either (especially when you have to live <em>somewhere</em>, retired or not, and most people put the equity from a home sale into their next purchase).</p><h2>3. Save more than you think you need to</h2><p>It's really important to me that I help my clients strike a balance between enjoying their lives in the present while also building assets and future financial security. This would be much easier to do if we had a crystal ball and could accurately predict what life would be like in 10, 20, even 30 years.</p><p>We'd know <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-budget-money" target="_blank" rel="noopener">your budget</a>. We'd know what kinds of emergencies you'd have to deal with, and prepare accordingly. And we'd understand what your life would look like (including how long it would be).</p><p>With that clarity, it would be possible to say, "you need $X. Save <em>just</em> that and feel free to spend the rest." That is, obviously, not how life works.</p><p>The solution' <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/personal-finance/save-income-every-year-following-steps-2021-1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Save more than you think you need to</a>, because then you give yourself a margin of safety. By saving more than you necessarily <em>must</em> save to "be OK," you can better:</p><ul><li aria-level="1">Handle emergencies</li><li aria-level="1">Take advantage of opportunities when they come up (either to spend on an unexpected trip, for example, or to use money on an investment you feel passionate about)</li><li aria-level="1">Incorporate new goals into your planning over time</li></ul><p>Saving more that you think you need today also buys you more choice and freedom in the future. The usual guideline I give to clients to help them achieve this is to <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/personal-finance/strategies-to-save-more-money-take-home-pay" target="_blank" rel="noopener">save 25% of annual gross income</a>.</p><div><style> #div-gpt-ad-1579713650634-0 > div > iframe { width: 100% !important; min-width: 300px; max-width: 595px; } </style><script async src="https://securepubads.g.doubleclick.net/tag/js/gpt.js"></script><script> window.googletag = window.googletag || { cmd: [] }; googletag.cmd.push(function () { googletag.defineSlot('/1035677/Business_Insider_', [[1, 1], [300, 139], [595, 139], [300, 250], [595, 250], [300, 360], [595, 360], [300, 475], [595, 475]], 'div-gpt-ad-1579713650634-0') .addService(googletag.pubads()); googletag.pubads().enableSingleRequest(); googletag.pubads().setTargeting('category', ["Banking"]).setTargeting('subcat', ["Savings Accounts"]).setTargeting('post_id', []) .setTargeting('post_url', []) .setTargeting('keyword', []) .setTargeting('company-product', []) .setTargeting('post_title', []); googletag.enableServices(); }); </script><!-- /1035677/Business_Insider_ --><div id="div-gpt-ad-1579713650634-0"> <script> googletag.cmd.push(function () { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1579713650634-0'); }); </script></div></div><h2>4. Have a backup plan</h2><p>It might sound like a doom-and-gloom approach to finances, but I preach about always having a backup planor those margins of safety, or wiggle room, or contingencies.</p><p>No one wants to imagine a worst-case scenario, but if something actually went sideways in your financial life, you'll be glad you had <a href="https://beyondyourhammock.com/bulletproof-balance-sheet/">multiple levels of safety net built into your overall plan</a>.</p><p>You can do this in a number of ways, including some we've already talked about, like saving more than you think you need to save.</p><p>Other ways of building in backups is by maintaining an emergency fund, using conservative assumptions around income, and overestimating your expenses when you do any kind of long-term financial projection, and not counting on any kind of windfall (from bonuses and commissions to inheritances) to make your plan work.</p><h2>5. Stop trying to time the market</h2><p>It is <em>so tempting</em> to think we can successfully time the market. Why' Because drops and spikes in the stock market look stupidly obvious with hindsight.</p><p>It's very easy to look back at something like 2008 (or maybe even the spring of 2020 at this point) and feel like you know when the best times to buy and sell would have been <em>because they already happened.</em></p><p>Guessing what comes next without the benefit of knowing how things played out is not the same thing. Data shows us that <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/personal-finance/investment-pros-cant-beat-the-stock-market-2020-7" target="_blank" rel="noopener">even professionals fail to time the market</a> repeatedly. You may get lucky once, but repeating that performance over and over again for the next few decades is virtually impossible.</p><p>Build a strategic investing planand then stick to it, regardless of current events.</p><p>It's probably not as fun and may not be as sexy as bragging about your stock picks on Robinhood, but it works a whole lot better in the long run.</p><p><em>Eric Roberge, CFP, is the founder of<a href="http://beyondyourhammock.com/">Beyond Your Hammock</a>. He helps professionals in their 30s do more with their money.</em></p><bi-shortcode id="related-content-module" class="mceNonEditable" data-type="more-financial-planner-coverage" data-sheetname="More Financial Planner Coverage">Related Content Module: More Financial Planner Coverage</bi-shortcode><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/personal-finance/money-advice-no-one-wants-to-hear-financial-planner-2021-5#comments">Join the conversation about this story &#187;</a></p>
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