Achieving Financial Peace of Mind with the Modern Three-Legged Stool

12.17.2019 - Bryan Kirk


Knowing the right questions to ask

To achieve financial peace of mind, it is important to identify immediate concerns as well as challenges that may be on the horizon. Only then can you begin to build a truly solid foundation for the future and put your mind at ease.

Financial anxieties often stem from near-term events—like paying this year’s taxes, selling a business, getting divorced or even a joyous event like getting married. But longer-term concerns can also become a source of stress, especially if you are asking yourself important questions such as: Will I be able to afford a comfortable retirement? How much is the right amount to leave to my children, grandchildren and charity? What happens to the money after I die or make gifts?

Look beyond retirement

Decades ago, financial security was said to be grounded on a threelegged stool: your pension, Social Security and personal savings. In theory, the three legs would support you from different directions and provide you with the strength and stability you’d need for your financial future.

In today’s complex world, this image of a three-legged stool remains useful. But we would argue that the three legs of the stool have changed, expanding beyond sources of retirement income to three broader areas of concern that can lead you to financial peace of mind.

Today's three-legged stool

Making sure these three legs are squarely in place can go a long way toward calming your anxieties and helping you feel confident about your financial future.

1) A clear understanding of your financial picture. It is impossible to achieve peace of mind without first assembling a clear picture of where you stand today.

2) A detailed financial plan.This involves identifying your financial goals for your lifetime and then making sure your finances, spending patterns and asset allocation strategy are aligned and moving you in the right direction.

3) An estate planning strategy.Your plan should address your legacy after you die and how you might accelerate those plans during your lifetime through gifting. You also need to plan for the unpredictable challenges of disability or incapacity and the financial uncertainties they might create for your heirs and others you might benefit.

Asking the right questions

Since your finances aren’t static, maintaining financial peace of mind requires vigilance. Whenever your serenity starts to fade, you can identify the source of the problem by exploring the right questions with your family and advisors. Identifying your options, finding a course of action and revisiting the questions on a regular basis keeps you on the right track and keeps each leg of your stool planted firmly on the ground.

This analysis is provided for illustration and discussion purposes only and does not guarantee future results. Please speak to your Fiduciary Trust contact if you have questions or would like more information. This communication is intended solely to provide general information. The information and opinions stated are as of December 1, 2019, and may change without notice. The information and opinions do not represent a complete analysis of every material fact. Statements of fact have been obtained from sources deemed reliable, but no representation is made as to their completeness or accuracy. The opinions expressed are not intended as individual investment, tax or estate planning advice or as a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. Please consult your personal advisor to determine whether this information may be appropriate for you. This information is provided solely for insight into our general management philosophy and process. Historical performance does not guarantee future results and results may differ over future time periods.

CFA and Chartered Financial Analyst are trademarks owned by CFA institute.


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