Best Intentions but Bad Financial Advice

Best Intentions but Bad Financial Advice

May 26, 2020
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The Coronavirus pandemic has forced a lot of CRNAs to take a closer look at their finances, and we often reach out to many different sources to get advice on ways to proceed.

Even if you’re working with a financial advisor, you’ll still have conversations with other people to find out what they think and what planning strategies they’re using. So who are the people we listen to most often? The list will vary for each of us, but the four most common sources of info are family, friends, our accountant, and financial experts we watch or read.

  • Family - CRNAs often turn to a family member for investment advice, especially if they perceive that family member to be financially successful. But just because someone has more money than you do (or at least you think they do), that doesn’t necessarily mean that they know what they’re talking about when it comes to the financial world. Or even if they do, they don’t necessarily understand the details of your situation. But most people have a hard time admitting that they don’t know the answer to a question when asked by a loved one, so they’ll often end up trying to make themselves sound like an expert when they really aren’t.

  • Friends - Let’s be honest, people like to brag to their friends. So when your golfing buddy has a hot stock tip, or a co-worker knows a great investment that you should check out, just remember that they probably don’t have much more expertise than you do. Also remember that people like to talk primarily about their successes, and they often forget about their failures.

  • Accountants - It’s not that accountants don’t know what they’re talking about, but it’s important for CRNAs to understand what your accountant’s job really is. His or her job is to give you tax advice. Most accountants are hesitant to agree with the advice that your financial advisor gives you, because that puts them in the position of giving investment advice, which most accountants aren’t trained or licensed to do. So if you ask your accountant for investment advice, he’s likely to try to avoid answering the question, which often comes across to you as if he’s saying “No, you shouldn’t do that.”

  • Financial Experts in the Media - Ok, maybe the media doesn’t always fall into the category of having “good intentions,” but if CRNAs think these so-called experts have good intentions, then that’s a problem. Keep in mind that any financial shows you see on TV have a primary mission of getting good ratings and selling advertising, NOT giving you financial advice. And anything you read online is likely written with an agenda. So, as always, consider the source.

One piece of financial advice that many clients ask us about is how much should I have saved at my age? Well, Fidelity found that the average amount in a retirement account is $215,000. Another question that we often hear from CRNAs is, “How much should I have saved at my age?” Well, Fidelity found that the average amount in a retirement account is $215,000.

Here’s how it breaks down by generation:

Gen Z - $5,400
Millennial - $44,000
Generation X - $175,000
Baby Boomers - $357,000
Silent Generation - $403,000

The typical Baby Boomer or retirement-age CRNA with whom we work has an average of $1.3−$1.8 million saved for retirement. Some more aggressive CRNAs have four or five times that amount, but don’t worry if you aren’t on track. A lot of ground can be made up in your 40s and 50s, but there has to be a plan to reach those goals. Working with a financial advisor who understands CRNAs can ensure you are saving correctly, and that you’ll have enough money to enjoy the retirement lifestyle that you want to live.

To listen to this week's podcast and learn more, click here.

With decades of experience working exclusively with CRNAs, CRNA Financial Planning® has the knowledge to help you save more of your hard earned money and determine appropriate tax minimization strategies. Schedule a free 15-minute introductory phone call to discuss your current situation and needs. You can also call our office at 855.304.3748 or email inquiry@crnafinancialplanning.com.