If you had access to some of the most respected financial experts on the web, what would you ask them?
We’ve wrangled up 10 of our favorite financial experts to share the wisdom of their financially-savvy ways in a new article series called, “Leave It to the Pros.”
First up: Chuck J. Rylant, MBA, CFP and author of new book, How to Be Rich: The Couple’s Guide to a Rich Life Without Worrying About Money (released September 2011).
Q: Hi, Chuck. Thanks so much for taking the time to sit down and talk with us. Let’s get everyone caught up to speed. What do you do for a living?
A: I operate a fee-only financial planning practice where I work with families to help them manage their finances. Many of my clients are small business owners, so my practice has evolved where I do a lot of marketing consulting. The business consulting was an unplanned, but rewarding transition. On one side, I help them make more money for their business and on the other, we work to arrange the money they have so they can enjoy life more.
[Check Your Credit: Don't Guess. Know.® Get your free credit report and score. No credit card required.Q: What inspired you to write the book, How to be Rich?
A: There are already several fantastic books that cover the nuts and bolts of personal finance. There isn’t too much to add that hasn’t already been said, but in working with clients, I discovered the “how to” is not what creates most of the challenges. Money is a deeply emotional issue. I believe money-related stress causes more family problems than anything else, yet there is a gap in the market where a lot of people could benefit from this type of information.
Q: Your book looks at the deep and complex emotional issues families struggle with because of money. What are some of these issues? How can readers solve them?
A: Most frustration from money is caused when your finances are not in line with your priorities. Additionally, people are far more likely to solve their emotional pain than do things because they’ve been told they should.
In my book, the husband and wife in the story were both working because they felt that was what they were supposed to do, but when the wife decided to stay at home with their young children, they brought in far less money, but the family was much happier. This does not suggest all families should do this, it’s just one example of what the fictional characters in the book needed.
Q: What would you say are the three most important things a couple can do to improve their financial relationship?
A: 1) Work together to write a list of financial priorities. Written is important for clarity and focus.
2) Both partners should be involved in managing the finances and in major purchase and investment decisions.
3) Having a neutral third party to mediate financial decisions and give objective feedback prevents most mistakes and arguments.
Q: Did you learn anything from writing your book?
A: I learn a lot when I do my own writing. When I started this project, I was limited in space to share my message. It’s not hard to fill a book, the challenge is writing concisely to fit all of the important stuff into one book while making it entertaining.
The trick, and what I aimed for, was to share the 20 percent of the financial planning strategies that would lead to 80 percent of the desired results. This is a spin on Pareto’s principal that applies to much of my life.
Q: What is the most important piece of financial advice you’ve ever received?
A: There is no quick or easy path to wealth. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. The turtle wins in the game of money.
Q: If readers could do one thing to improve their financial lives, what would you tell them to do?
A: “Pay yourself first” has become a cliché, but it’s the single most important financial planning strategy.
Learn more about Chuck Rylant at his blog, ChuckRylant.com.