Imagine looking at your car’s dashboard and seeing only the speedometer. If the gas gauge and other important instruments were missing, it would be unsettling. It would impair your confidence because you would worry about running out of gas and other unknown problems.
Your wealth may be in a similar situation. You may not have a dashboard view of your complete financial situation. If you aren’t completely satisfied with your wealth management, the lack of a comprehensive view may be part of the problem.
A financial dashboard is an electronic, secure portal that organizes your personal finances and provides an at-a-glance view of your complete financial holdings (all assets and liabilities) and the values are updated daily.
Successful wealth management is governed by the “only as strong as the weakest link” axiom. You may have an outstanding investment program, but what if you’re paying more in income taxes than is required, your insurance is inadequate, or your estate plan doesn’t comply with current law? How are you really doing then? In certain situations, weaknesses could be exposed that make your financial plan third-rate. A dashboard can strengthen all your links.
Easily Identified Improvement Opportunities
A comprehensive, current, and easy to understand view of your wealth won’t solve financial weaknesses any more than your car’s dashboard will solve car troubles. But, just like your car’s dashboard, a financial dashboard can make you aware of problems so you can act on them.
For example, a well-designed financial dashboard allows you to easily group all of your investments together, regardless of where they are held - discount broker, full-service broker, work retirement plan - so you can evaluate your assets for diversification and performance, and identify possible opportunities for improvement. Without a dashboard, this would be a time consuming and tedious task that most people wouldn’t perform, especially on a regular basis.
Very few available retail dashboard software programs work well. Quicken by Intuit is probably the best-known solution. It has powerful cash flow management, budgeting and investment management capabilities. Mint is another product by Intuit, but it is a less robust and less costly version of Quicken. A third option, Personal Capital, also receives favorable reviews.
None of these programs are a panacea. They require ongoing maintenance, which can be frustrating. Electronic feeds from financial institutions (banks, investment firms, etc.) keep the information current. That requires usernames and passwords, which must be re-entered should connections stop working for any reason, as well as software updates.
Alternatively, some wealth management firms, such as my firm, PartnersInWealth, provide clients with a dashboard (called myPartnersInWealth) along with many other services, including dashboard maintenance.
A Gift to Yourself
Not long ago, electronic dashboards were not available. Now, they can be viewed as foundational to successful wealth management. To unclutter your financial life, feel in control of your wealth, and create wealth improvement opportunities, give yourself the gift of a dashboard.