In my youth, I was insistent on “doing it myself.” Even when I had no prior experience or training in a subject or task, I was determined to learn because a) I thought I could do it better or b) I wanted to save money. And at this point in my life, I had time — a commodity I did not realize was so incredibly valuable. That being said, I did my best to learn this new skill so I could do it myself, or in some cases I attempted to reinvent the wheel when I thought I could get better results with my own logic. Depending on the task or problem I was trying to solve, sometimes it worked out well, sometimes the result was mediocre, and sometimes it was a complete disaster. My results were inconsistent and in every case, it took time. Can you relate?
As I matured into my 30s and started a family and a career, time became more elusive. I still stood firm on the idea that I could handle (control) every problem that arose in life and that no matter what came my way, I could do it myself. Now at this point, I had gotten wise and decided that there were things I didn’t want to do, so I would hire an expert — for example, car repairs. However, I still had the notion that DIY was the best option for saving money, and I considered myself very intelligent and capable of accomplishing my goals without “help.” At this juncture, I had not considered what my time was actually worth and where I should be focusing my capable attention.
Because I was a DIY addict, I read countless self-help books in all areas of life including (but not limited to) career, relationships, health, success, finances, parenting, gardening, traveling, cooking, decorating, fitness, remodeling, beauty, marketing, etc. While I certainly learned a lot and I started many projects, I finished very few. It turns out that in many of the areas I studied, I ran into roadblocks when I had a question that was unanswered by my book, video, or audio program. I was unable to fully implement because I didn’t have a coach available to hold me accountable. I couldn’t follow through because I needed additional guidance or I wasted time going down a “rabbit hole” with no workable solution, ultimately causing me to give up with plans to finish another day that never came. So what did I do to compensate for my lack of results? I read another book hoping to find the answer or even better — I spent hours inventing my own program from all that I learned in an attempt to get results. And there went all my precious time (not actually getting the results I sought).
In my 40s, I heard a wise remark, “Don’t waste your time trying to perfect something someone else has already proven a method with results.”
I knew I was smart enough to do it myself, but the new question I had to ask was, “Should I attempt it myself, when I could hire an expert instead?” The answer — only if I had the time and desire to become an expert at that task. The key phrase here: desire to become an expert. At this point, I have realized that my time is incredibly valuable and that I should be spending my time on my area of expertise.
I wanted people to hire me for my expert ability in my field, yet I was not willing to hire others? It was a contradiction. Besides, I wanted a specific result quickly. How long would it take me to learn how to get expert level results on my own?
Once I decided that my time was extremely valuable and that I wanted results in short-order, I knew what had to be done. I hired it done. All of it. I admit that I still enjoy my fair-share of DIY projects (I call them hobbies now), but when it comes to things that REALLY matter and where mistakes or lack of follow through can cost me, I engage the experts. The results speak for themselves. Why not do it right the first time? Unwinding a failed DIY or starting over is not only a waste of precious time, but could also potentially cost you big-time.
What do DIY projects have to do with financial planning? EVERYTHING. We meet with very smart and capable practice owners who insist on trying to “do it themselves” when it comes to financial planning. They hire an accountant and an attorney, engage with an insurance agent and maybe even an investment guy. But what is missing is an expert guide who is helping coordinate all of these professionals. It would be an extremely large time investment to learn everything you need to know about all of the critical areas of personal finance, as well as coordinate all the professionals needed to get predictable, objective results. It would almost need to be your new career! Agreed? It’s not about ability, it’s about reality.
I’m talking to you. The DIY addict. The person who believes they can do it just as well, or better, for less. The truth about all DIY projects is that you don’t know what you don’t know, and financial planning cannot be approached as a “hobby” if you desire expert results. Approaching your financial future in this way will potentially cost you time and/or money, and that is what will sting you in the end. At what point do you call in for reinforcements and guidance? Let me save you the heartache of a potential financial mistake and encourage you that it is okay to hire an expert financial advisor to create a strategy for you to achieve your goals. In fact, it is necessary to do it now. In my opinion, your biggest financial mistake is not working with a firm who understands you as a practice owner and all the liabilities and opportunities you face, financially speaking. Do yourself a financial favor and leave this project to the experts so you can focus on what you do best for your patients or clients. Don’t settle for financial mediocrity — don’t DIY your financial plan. Hire the experts and get results.