Financials are my nemesis. I am a small business owner, but don’t ever feel like I have my act together. I went to school for a degree in occupational therapy so I am out of my element in the financial world. Nevertheless, I lay awake at night worrying about this financial stuff as it relates to my family’s well-being. I worry about my business not thriving, saving enough money, whether I should have an “emergency fund,” and about the housing market! In addition, I’m trying to plan for college, manage the debt my husband and I have and refinance.
Am I happy with my work-life balance?
Are my business decisions sound?
Is my family prepared if disaster strikes?
Can my husband and I get through these conversations together?
It all makes my head spin.
I realize I need answers to these important questions. Now that I have a family, the ante is upped. So, who do I call? The bank (during regular banking hours)? My accountant (when his office is open)? A lawyer (how much is this going to cost me)? The insurance guy (do we even have a guy anymore)? I need someone that gets it. We need someone who speaks our language.
Enter Zachary Taylor of Living Legacy in Portsmouth
Meet Zachary Taylor from Living Legacy Financial Group. He is a financial planner and his job is to help young families like mine organize themselves and prioritize these types of things. Zachary refers to himself as a “Financial Primary Care Physician”. He serves as a gatekeeper for all of these questions, concerns, and worries that keep me up at night.
I went in for a checkup.
I met with him at his office in Portsmouth and we started to get organized. He helped me identify what I already had, what I needed, and how put it all in one place. In addition to helping me reorganize and come up with a plan, I can call (or text, or email, or Facebook) him, minimizing time chasing answers from those five other people that I mentioned earlier. Zachary Taylor is now my first line of defense. Not that I don’t need the other people (banker, accountant, lawyer, insurance guy), but I find him much easier to access.
Zachary gets it, this crazy busy stage of life, because he’s in this boat, too! He is a local 33-year-old guy and is expecting his first child with his wife, Rachel. Professionally, he spends most of his time educating young professionals and young families about financial principles; getting them to organize and prioritize. While working with people like me, his goal is to help us understand where we are today so we can have confidence making decisions as we go forward.
The goal is to have financial balance.
I am working on some things to feel better financially prepared. In the meantime, Zachary left me with these tips that I want to pass on:
- Get organized! Right now my financials feel like a junk drawer in my kitchen. The pieces are all there somewhere, but it’s work to find it all. It’s not pretty.
- YOU are your most valuable financial resource. With earning potential over time, its important to start with protection of that earning potential first as a step towards financial security. This means thinking about major events that could affect cash flow (ahem – those children we are blessed with, that skiing accident I’m afraid of having) and protecting myself.
- Cash flow management. This is super critical to long-term success. Establishing a method for saving enough out of each paycheck can be more important than one’s rate of return on a specific investment, which is typically out of our control. Most Americans are saving less than 5% of their income, but a financial planner could help push that number towards 25%.
- Build a Life Events Fund. This sounds better than my emergency doom and gloom fund. You can be your own banker by having access to liquid capital without penalty. Zachary reminds me that planning for major events does not always have to be about bad karma. It could be a positive opportunity to invest in a friend’s business, pursue an educational program, a celebration of some sort, etc.
- Permanent debt removal. Plan for this only after you’ve completed the previous steps (organization, protection, cash flow optimization/savings, life events fund). The order of these steps is important to help handle the uncertainty of life and work towards financial freedom.
Zachary calls his approach “holistic.” I like to think this will make my life easier. Consequently, this reminds me of my addiction to Target. Where else can you have ONE STOP to buy a toaster, cheese, a swimsuit and sunglasses for your toddler? All while enjoying a Starbucks! This new chapter in life calls for a new way to find financial balance. Once I have all these pieces of my financial puzzle organized, I will go for a yearly “checkup.” Zachary Taylor can be your one-stop-shop for family financials. Thankfully, he can also help you sleep better at night.