As a financial planner my job is to guide people on how best to financially prepare for their future. Whether their goal is to get debt under control, budget better, ease into retirement, protect their family or discuss what to do with the proceeds of a home sale, the goal is to provide security and peace of mind.
The strategies I suggest are the result of careful listening and thorough planning. The advice I offer might be disruptive and not what they want to hear, but I can help implement these strategies.
In the end, however, people do not always do the right thing. Their actions might not make sense financially, or even personally from my perspective, but they do so anyhow. There may be a reason for doing the wrong thing. A parent may be supporting an adult child they should have let loose years ago, but the heart has its own reasons. They may take on debt to fund a home renovation, delaying their retirement, but feel a new kitchen will bring joy to their life, and is worth the price to be paid.
When I was a newly single mother with three young children and no support payments, I struggled to provide, not only the necessities of life, but for things that enhanced their quality of life. There were choirs, music lessons, sports and modest family vacations. To pay for these I sometimes borrowed on the equity in my home, grateful that I had that. For several years my mortgage went up instead of down. If, at that time, I would have consulted with a financial planner, they would have told me that I could not have afforded those extras, and they would have been absolutely right. I did the wrong thing and did so without regret.
If we do the wrong thing, we need to accept the consequences of our actions. The child living in the basement may not learn independence and use resources meant for our retirement. A renovation might delay our retirement plans. As a consequence of my financial decisions, it takes longer to pay off my mortgage and grow my own retirement fund. I will need to work longer. My actions all those years ago could be viewed as wrong or at least not sensible, but in the long term it has all worked out.
As long as we accept the consequences of our decision and the impact it will have on our own life, then is doing the wrong thing really wrong?