10 Questions Sales Executives and Top Performers Should Ask Themselves When It Comes To Their Finances

As a former sales executive/top performer, I understand how difficult it can be to manage both your sales goals and personal finances. It’s a daunting task to be fiscally responsible when you are in the thick of closing deals, prospecting, managing cross-functional teams, traveling, fine-tuning your sales skills, and corporate meetings. 

When I was in sales myself, I seldomly thought about my financial plan. I was so exhausted from the sales cycle, that I didn’t have the bandwidth to learn or even think about investments, deferred compensation, tax planning, cash-flow management, college funding, etc. I figured I’d keep making a lot of cash and as long as I didn’t overspend, I would be alright. I’m not sure how long this (non)plan would have lasted, but luckily, I was soon introduced to the idea of financial planning and hiring a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®). 

Looking back, it wasn’t a lack of time, but my ego that didn’t allow me to ask for help in this area. I was closing multi-million dollar deals, was at the top of my game and certainly didn’t feel the need to hire anyone. I read books and was relatively informed when it came to finance, but I was struggling. I think many sales people struggle with delegation of any sort, because they are so used to controlling the sales cycle, and with their paycheck on the line it’s understandable.

One of my past employers, LearnVest, provided their employees with financial plans by a fiduciary fee-only financial advisor, which forced me to sit down with a CFP® and, well, get my shit together. It wasn’t until I met with my financial planner that I realized there were some tough questions I needed to ask myself in order to get started. This was life changing! 

Here are some examples of the questions and considerations that came up as we started to strategize. 

  1. What if I had a down year, could I sustain my current lifestyle? 
  2. Am I overspending? 
  3. Could I be saving more, if so how much?
  4. What if I didn’t hit my quota, did I have enough saved for emergencies?
  5. What if I hit quota, but didn’t earn the accelerators, could I afford my car and house? 
  6. What should I do with extra cash and commissions? 
  7. Should I buy real estate, fund college (for parents), contribute more to retirement, pay off debt?
  8. What can I do to protect and grow my new found wealth?
  9. What if I lose my job or my compensation plan changes, how will this impact our situation?
  10. What if something happens to me, will my family be taken care of?

Ask yourself these questions and be honest with yourself. Are you in a good place, or could you use some help? If any of this resonates with you or you’re interested in learning more about how to get your plan together, please feel free to reach out to me. 

Eric Rodriguez, CFP®

eric@wealthbllc.com

 

What is a CFP®?

CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioners are trained to be experts in all areas of personal finance. This can include cash-flow, insurance, tax, investments, retirement, estate, college funding, and much more. CFP®’s study for 6+ years, have 4,000+ hours of experience, and pass a rigorous 6+ hour exam to be approved. 

Estate Planning 101

As the saying goes, only two things are guaranteed in life – death and taxes. It’s a hard truth, and can be difficult subjects to approach. Although you better get those taxes done folks, because as the other saying goes – you don’t mess with the IRS! But let’s save taxes for another day. Today we’ve got you covered with the basics of an Estate Plan, a key component to any financial plan.

WealthBuilders is happy to help solidify your financial plan, including guidance with estate planning. Feel free to contact us for a free initial conversation!

What is an Estate Plan?

An Estate Plan is preparing for the transfer of one’s wealth and assets after death. Assets, life insurance, pensions, real estate, cars, personal belongings, and debts are all included in an Estate Plan. The objective of estate planning is to:

  • Fulfill your property transfer wishes
  • Minimize Taxes
  • Minimize Costs
  • Provide Needed Liquidity

Who needs an Estate Plan?

Anyone who wants a plan in place to help manage health care decisions, guardianship, distribute assets and to generally keep peace amongst loved ones during tough times.

Key Estate Planning Documents:

Wills – the simplest estate planning tools. They are flexible and appoint executors, guardians, tax savings trusts, and trusts for children. If you use a will only in your estate plan, your estate will go through probate before it can be distributed to heirs. Probate is a judicial process where a judge supervises the settling of an estate and can last four months to a year or longer. This means heirs will not receive anything until the court makes a decision. Brutal, but better than not having anything written!

Living Trusts – legal entities that hold property during a person’s life and provide for a distribution plan after death. ALL assets in the living trust avoid probate. Living trusts are more complex than a will, but they avoid probate in CA which is usually a determining factor in choosing a will or trust.

Durable Powers of Attorney for Finance – allow someone to make decisions and to manage your financial affairs for assets outside of a living trust if you become incompetent or incapacitated.

Advanced Health Care Directives – allow you to name a person to make health care decisions for you and state your wishes for end of life care.

Retirement Plans and Life Insurance Policies – distributed to named beneficiaries and pass outside of your will or trust. It’s important to have your beneficiaries updated (especially if you are divorced or in the process). Also, one of the major benefits of life insurance is 100% of the proceeds are passed to your beneficiaries tax free.