Financial Planning – It’s NOT All About the Benjamins

Certified Financial Planner ™, James Townes, Photographed by John Ricard

Certified Financial Planner ™, James Townes, Photographed by John Ricard

I recently held an executive portrait session for Certified Financial Planner ™, James Townes.  These sessions for me, provide an opportunity to gain insight into someone else’s world.

As a financial planner, James’ main focus is that while we are in our money earning years, we should consider our, “obligation and responsibility to pass our wealth on to future generations.”  I found it interesting that James defines wealth as more than just money – he views our intellectual capital and human capital as equally important, especially for future generations.

James believes that we must pass on to our future generations, “the story of our lives.  Everything from the confederate flag coming down from the South Carolina capital grounds to the election of the first African American President…family histories, stories about how our parents, grandparents and great grandparents survived to get the family to where we are today -It is our challenge to carry that story forward for future generations.”

So we must be focused today on a transfer of, “financial capital, human capital and intellectual capital to those who are not yet born.”

And how will we accomplish this transfer?

James said, “Appropriate comprehensive financial planning is the cornerstone.  Understanding where your money is spent, making sure that we address contingencies in case something bad happens to us, ie. disability or pre-mature death.  Having a plan to invest disposal income, in the stock market, in real estate and making sure that we have contingency plans.  We need to make sure that we have an estate plan in place, regardless of the size of the estate.

If each family member has the guidance and knowledge from trusted professionals to accomplish these tasks, we then begin to focus on our family.  The patriarchs and matriarchs of the family must begin to discuss how this family wants to pass on all of the traditions and stories of their families as well as the financial capital.  The family must teach each subsequent generation the reason, purpose and mission of the family estate and how it should be managed by each generation for the benefit of the entire family.”

This information really affected me on a personal level since, I must admit, I haven’t taken these steps.  I spoke to my wife about it and we are certainly going to begin making sure that our finances are in order so that our 10 year old daughter and her (eventual) children can benefit from all the steps my wife and I are taking today with our careers and finances.   I had also asked James if it is ever the “wrong” time to begin financial planning.  For example, if someone is in debt.  Should they wait until the debt is resolved?  James said, no.  Financial planning should begin immediately, no matter what the state your finances may be currently in.

So I thank James for giving me the opportunity to not only create his portrait but also for passing on some insights into what I need to do to get my finances and all my other forms of capital, in order for my future generations.  Should you wish to contact James his information is below:

James E. Townes, Certified Financial Planner™

(Special thank you to the CALIBR group for their assistance in setup up the portrait session).

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