The Whitnell Way
Insights For Business Owners, Executives And Affluent Families
Viewing Blogs by Mia Erickson
Whitnell Podcast: Insights with Mia Erickson
Why Successful, Time-Starved People Need A Personal CFO
In this podcast, originally aired on Chicago’s premier talk-radio station, WGN, Mia Erickson discusses the importance of having a personal CFO. In today’s climate, successful families contend with a lot of complexity—taxes, estate plans, investments, insurance products, real estate and even charitable giving. What does it take to make the best possible decisions in these areas? More importantly, how are time-starved people supposed to get all the work done and get all their advisors to think and act like one coordinated team?
How To Help Your Children Find Financial Contentment
Five Ideas To Help Adult Children Enjoy The Freedom Of Living Within Their Means
Over the last few months, I’ve been reflecting on a conundrum. I’ve been a financial advisor long enough now to have multi-generational clients. In some instances, I serve parents, their children and even their grandchildren. Here’s the conundrum. When I first start working with clients, almost no one says: “Mia we want to be rich.” Instead, they say: “Mia we want to achieve complete financial independence so we don’t have to worry about money.” This leads to a kind of contentment in life that is hard to beat.
But when it comes to their children, this clarity about what money should do for the family seems to get lost. Most parents want their children to have a better life than they had. But this desire can sometimes delude us into doing and saying things that will not help our children realize financial contentment. If you want your adult children to practice sound financial discipline, live within their means and build long-term wealth, all while truly enjoying life, here are five ideas that can really help.
How Financial Wellness Gives Your Company A Competitive Edge
Five Ways These Programs Help Businesses Retain And Attract Top Talent
Over the years, business leaders I’ve worked with often report feeling stressed out by three situations: a key employee is departing, it’s tough attracting new top-talent and managing executive benefits is expensive and complicated, like herding cats. To address these challenges, many organizations have instituted financial wellness programs. Usually financial wellness means that the talent inside an organization is focused and energized to do their best work because they are not worried about their personal finances or their family’s financial well-being.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with keeping top talent, attracting new talent or managing executive benefits in a way that really helps their organization, I believe financial wellness provides many benefits. Here are five ways these programs empower business owners and executives to worry less and excel more.
Retirement, Parents, Kids: The Trifecta Of Financial Stress
How Financial Planning Produces Peace Of Mind
There is this thing that happens in the middle years of our lives. It seems nearly unfair. As incomes go up, our expenses often seem to go up much faster. It often feels as if we cannot do everything we want to do to support the ones we love while also living our desired lifestyle. This is frustrating.
I hear this from clients all the time, especially when we initially start working together. People who are middle-aged, say 40-65 years old, often realize financial pressure from three sources: aging parents, young-adult children and their own retirement. I call this the trifecta of financial stress. It squeezes people and drains so much joy out of living.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with this trifecta, I want you to know that there are effective solutions. I believe you can greatly reduce financial stress, take control of your future and once again find joy in the little things. You can have peace of mind about the future. Let me share with you what I think it takes to get there.
How To Align Your Wealth With Your Dreams
The Three-Phase Process Your Family Can Rely On
I want to tell you a funny story. A few days ago, I was speaking with a client. She told me they had just returned from their vacation home after being with children and grandchildren. While playing Monopoly, a grandchild was trying to decide whether or not to put hotels on certain properties. Her husband said: “You better call Mia first. We never make decisions like that without her.”
We both chuckled when she told me this story. But after thinking about it a while, I recalled how long it took me to build trust with this client. My name came up because I had guided them in making so many important decisions, none of which involved play-money. I took this as a compliment, a sign that I was doing my job.
Do You Need A Financial Quarterback?
Complexity In Your Financial Life May Require It
I had a really great moment the other day with a client. We got together to talk about some updates to their plan and in so doing, I had a chance to think about how far this family had come. You see, they’ve been my client now for nearly 20 years. And in that space of time, we’ve seen tremendous changes in their lives and their financial situation.
As I was driving away from our meeting, I couldn’t help but reflect on the differences between their financial situation today and where they were back then. This reminded me of the importance of having a plan and sticking to it over time. But that’s not the only thing I pondered.
What To Do During Market Volatility
What Actions Should You Take Now?
When I was a little girl, a bee stung me one summer day. I will never forget how much that hurt. In fact, as an adult, when I hear a bee flying by, I sometimes feel that sting again. This is what psychologists call phantom pains. The source of the pain might be gone, but the memory lingers.
I have a sense that many people are struggling with their own type of phantom pain right now. The downturn of 2008 left people with a stinging sensation that is hard to forget. Any market volatility brings back those feelings.
Plan, Process And Partner
How To Balance The Many-Faceted Demands On Your Wealth
Many people make new year’s resolutions, if for no other reason than to set a course for the near future. But I wonder how you’ve done against your resolutions in the past. Have you achieved every goal? How many of the resolutions you made in January of 2014 did you fulfill by December of 2014? If you are like most people, you hit the mark on some and missed on others.
But this raises an important question, especially as it relates to your wealth. How will missing the mark on certain financial goals impact other goals? You see, every financial decision impacts other areas. If you are uncertain about how to answer this question, I think you need the three Ps: plan, process and partner.
You Don’t Need A Financial Plan – You Need Financial Planning
What’s The Difference?
When I first start talking to a new client, I often discover that they have a financial plan. At some point in the past, they worked with a financial planner who helped them build a plan that was probably a good one for their needs at that time. But then… The plan sat on the shelf. The details of the plan were not fully executed. More importantly, priorities changed. But the plan did not keep up.
This is why I say – you don’t need a financial plan, you need financial planning. If you are to achieve your wealth creation goals to support your lifestyle, loved-ones and retirement, financial planning cannot be a one-time event.
How Do I Retire With My Current Lifestyle?
Hint – A High Income Is Not The Solution
I’ve noticed an overriding concern among my clients. Many ask me this important question. How do I maintain the lifestyle I’ve become accustomed to throughout my retirement? The answer may not be as simple as it first appears. Many people make the mistake of believing that a high income will automatically result in a desirable retirement. People seem to say to themselves: as long as I earn an income that is many times the national average and make good investments, I’ll be okay in retirement. However, I’m not convinced of this. Why do I say this?
A Reflection Resource For The Holidays
Use This Guide For Those Rare Quiet Moments
The holiday season is upon us. For most families, this is a time to give thanks, bask in the joys of loved ones and hope to retain your sanity. Let’s face it – the holidays can be very hectic. During the holidays, most of us will find a few quiet moments at some point when we get a chance to reflect on the past year and dream about the year to come.
Will My Children Ever Be Truly Financially Independent?
Seven Steps To Help Them Make The Transition
Most affluent Americans have accumulated wealth by working hard, saving money, living beneath their means, investing, and surrounding themselves with good counselors. Many first-generation wealth-creators find it difficult to pass these values on to their children and grandchildren. Too often these loved ones don’t understand how hard it was to accumulate the wealth to which they’ve grown accustomed.