Top 10 Shout-Outs for the New Year

Advisors like Elissa Buie, Dick Wagner and Mary Malgoire weigh in with advice for 2011

Shelves groan beneath personal finance books. Investment pundits pontificate on the airwaves. Blogs and websites inundate us with money management tools and tips. But what does it all come down to?

As a follow-up to my Dec. 2010 cover story where top advisors mused about the future of the profession, I asked financial advisors on Naznet (an online community of life planners and advisors who are committed to exploring their clients’ emotional, spiritual and financial needs) to take a little flight of fancy. If they could send up a plane trailing a banner to fly over every American city and town, what would the banner say?

Here are their messages to America. (Some advisors added comments, shown here in italics.)

1. Seize the Moment

“Life is not a dress rehearsal.”
 Christopher L. Dowley, Dowley & Company Inc.

“Plan for the future – live in the now!”
Holly Hunter, Hunter Advisor LLC

“Inspired living - sweet, with no bitter aftertaste.” 
 Robert V. Bolen, Bolen, Dodson & Associates

“No whining; shut up and live!
This was inspired by a sign I saw prominently displayed on a dive boat: “No Whining, Shut Up and Dive!”

2. Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

“Focus and sustain what’s important. It matters.”
Bhaj Townsend, Bhaj Townsend/Legacy Plus

3. Think Long-Term

“Remember, your children are watching!”
Christopher L. Dowley, Dowley & Company Inc.

“This too shall pass.”
Janet Tyler Johnson, JATAJ Wealth Management ,  JATAJ Life Planning,  JATAJ Wealth Advisors Network

“Financial freedom ...  start young, finish strong.”
Bobbie Munroe, Fraser Financial

4. Take Charge of Your Money

“Money moves. What’s your motivation influencing the direction?”
Gayle K. Colman, Colman Knight Advisory Group LLC

5. Get Sound Financial Advice

“Good advice, better decisions.” 
Kevin P. Condon,

“Getting there is easier with a trusted financial advisor on your team.”
I do believe people who have advisors have better rates of return. They make smarter financial decisions, have their estate plans in place and have proper amounts of insurance.
Mary Malgoire, The Family Firm

“Fiduciary = clients above self.”
There is a need for a fiduciary standard, and it plays well into a mantra like that of Rotary International: Service above self.
Robert Laura, co-founder of

6. It’s Not All About Money

“Money is like gas and electricity. It is fuel for your life's journey. It isn't the journey.”
Wayne Lear, Madison Financial Group (Australia)

“The chief end of ideal financial planning is not the maximization of dollars and cents, but instead, the net improvement in quality of life.” 
Tim Maurer, Financial Consulate Inc.

“The best legacy you can give your children is a life well-lived.”
My mom constantly did without, even though we had set her up with a reverse mortgage. She worried constantly and didn’t want to pay for live-in help. To people in her situation I would have to say, “Spend within reason AND enjoy life!”
Rosemary (Toy) Ward, Toy Ward & Associates

"It’s about the size of your life, not the size of your wallet. Live big!”
A relationship between planner and client is harnessing money, not for the sake of money, but for a fulfilling life.
Elissa Buie, Yeske Buie

7. Become Financially Savvy

“What is your money doing right now?”
Christopher L. Dowley, Dowley & Company, Inc.

“Everything has a price tag.”
Bobbie Munroe, Fraser Financial

8. Spend Wisely

“Is it a need or a want?  Do you REALLY need it?”
Steven "Shags" Shagrin, The Money Coaching Institute

“Give up on MORE; have ENOUGH.”
Tim Maurer, Financial Consulate Inc.

“Money is ENERGY; use it sustainably!”
Aileen Miga, Inspired Wealth

“Don't spend too much ... but don't spend too little, either!”
Barry L. Kohler, BDMP Wealth Management

“If you can eat it, drink it or wear it, it is NOT an emergency.”
I saw this priceless one on a credit card sleeve.
Bobbie Munroe, Fraser Financial

“Spend happy - buy memories.”
Chrisanne Cubby, Temenos Advisory

9. Get Ready for an Uncertain Future

"Build resiliency with your neighbors.”
Prepare for more trouble. Get used to sharing things with your neighbors and knowing them better.
Dick Vodra, Spire Investment Partners

10. Save More, Spend Less, And…

"Save more, spend less, and don't do anything stupid."
I concocted this phrase 20 years ago, and I still think it’s pretty good!
Dick Wagner, WorthLiving LLC

“Save more, spend less, and hire a fee-only financial planner!”
Richard S. Kahler, Kahler Financial Group

"Save more, spend less, and don't do anything stupid! Congress, this includes you!”
The first part is one of my favorite Wagnerisms. The second part is mine, though (so don’t blame Dick).
Neal_J. Solomon, WealthPro LLC

Try it – it’s fun! I believe I can see my own banner now. It reads: “Use money to reflect your values; there’s no better legacy.”

It was a pleasure to hear from these gifted and thoughtful financial planners who care deeply about improving their clients’ lives, relationships and values in a balanced and fulfilling way. Whether your own practice focuses on helping clients contemplate their legacy, explore their life goals, monitor their spending and saving in an overspending, undersaving society, or learn to prize the emotional, spiritual and financial assets they do have, I believe you will earn their gratitude if you assist them in moving toward what I have always called money harmony.

What does your banner say? Whatever it is, have you communicated this message to your clients? If not, what are you waiting for?

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