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My annual medical check-up last week has given me a whole new perspective on my clients’ annual financial reviews.  

Rather than poke, prod, squeeze, smash, or radiate body parts, I’m more-or-less doing the same with someone’s financial parts when I’m doing annual reviews.

It’s a status-check and a stress-test to make sure everything is going as well as it can.  This is why I encourage everyone to meet with their financial planner at least annually.

It’s worth the time and effort to bring your anxiety down and your joy up.

Annual Reviews Are Time Well-Spent 

I love my primary care physician, and I genuinely enjoy seeing her, the human being.

But I don’t love check-ups.  

First of all, it’s a lot of time.  Those appointments have to be done in person, and they almost always generate at least two other appointments to outside providers, which also have to be done in person.

Second, while I give consent to being poked, prodded and squeezed, it still feels invasive.  

And lastly, there’s that anxiety factor of test results.  Am I okay?  For how long will I be okay?  

The financial annual review is not much different, although the majority of my reviews tend to be virtual these days. 

Reviews require clients take time to collect documents, answer my seemingly endless questions, take time out of their days to meet me.  And then do all the appointments that I create as a result of our meeting – the estate planning attorney, the CPA, the insurance agent, etc.

It can feel invasive, even if a client knows me well.  People will talk about their sex lives before they’ll talk about their money.  Money can be a delicate subject.

And there is the anxiety factor.  Some of it is client-induced because they’re feeling guilty about what they did not get done this last year or what they spent their money on.  

There is also the worry about having saved enough, sociopolitical and economic world events, the state of the markets, and whether their financial futures are solid.

This process, though, actually reduces anxiety.  You get to ask your questions.  You get to see your finances stress-tested.  You get to hear “you are going to be okay.”

The Best Part:  The Annual Reset

We do these annual check-ups partially because we feel like we’re supposed to, but also because we want to know the status of our well-being, medical or financial.

The best part of the annual review is getting a “reset.”  We can’t change the past, but we can make mid-flight corrections to put us on a solid future path.  

We now have a new baseline from which to work.  We can catch issues early, gather information, and make conscious decisions.  

Rinse, repeat.  Then you’re done for the year for the most part.   

As We Age, Check-Ups Become More Important

Getting old isn’t for wimps.  

Used to be I could skip an annual medical check-up for years.  Not so much anymore.  

My doctor seems to be on top of making sure I get in to see her annually now.  

This is true for financial check-ups as well.  The stakes get a little higher as we get older and approach Phase 3 (otherwise known as retirement) or have a health issue come up or have a family member that needs more support.  

That, Which Watched, Improves

Who knows who said this first, but it’s true:  Those things that we monitor in our lives and keep an eye on tend to improve.  

Clients get to see their progress from year to year.  They get to hear “you are on track.”  They get to see what we predicted come true.  They get to see the fruits of their labors.  

They get to see that they will be able to pay for that college education, or take that much-dreamed-for trip, and know that one day they don’t have to work for a paycheck.

Totally worth it.

If you’d like to talk about what an annual review would look like for you, please reach out.

Lanning Financial Inc. is a registered investment adviser. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.

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