Lori has been wonderful to work with these last 6 months. She took recommendations willingly and has made great strides financially. Equally impressive to me has been her optimistic attitude through some difficult and stressful moments. This positive attitude will see her through graduate school and well beyond.
Once she is settled in her new apartment Lori’s biggest challenge will be keeping up with her budgeting and continuing to stretch her dollars as far as possible even though the urgency of doing so is now far removed from her everyday life. I urge her to continue setting monthly and annual budgets, comparing actual against plan monthly and rewarding herself periodically for achieving her goals with preset ‘awards’ of cash she can spend as she chooses. I hope she involves her kids in this process too, beginning to teach them the skills she does not feel she learned when she was their age.
Next, Lori will need to decide what, if any, financial support she is planning to provide her children for college and begin to save accordingly. Even though her kids are about halfway to college age, a monthly contribution of $100 to a 529 plan (or two!) could grow to almost $15,000 by the time her oldest reaches college age. The process would also provide another teaching-by-example opportunity for her to demonstrate to her kids.
My work with Lori has me thinking of ways to stay connected with clients more regularly during the period of time they are implementing recommendations I have made. I usually don’t get to follow a client’s progress as closely as I did with Lori. Though building that level of ongoing support into my regular fee would make me too expensive for many of the very people I most enjoy working with, I will find a way to provide more implementation assistance than I currently do.
Boot Camp has also reaffirmed for me that a successful financial planning relationship is defined by the strength of the relationship between planner and client. The stronger the relationship the more likely it is that I will create both the resolve as well as the proper tools to help my clients achieve their financial goals. Thanks Lori and Parenting.com.