A Word From Our President, James Rukstalis


Money can be a difficult topic for many of us to discuss. Our prior generations were taught that it is one of those “forbidden topics” that we don’t discuss in polite conversation. As a result, we end up holding back the discussion with our children, family, and friends. This prompted a discussion with the financial planning association. For those who don’t know, the financial planning association is an organization where financial planners, and aspiring financial planners, work together to discuss all aspects of financial planning.

In this discussion, there were four questions raised:
“1. What are people avoiding talking about in our conversations about Money and the Human Experience?
2. What are people avoiding that they don’t think they’re avoiding?
3. What are we trying to protect? And why?
4. What goes unsaid?” (questions paraphrased from The Art of Gathering, Priya Parker)

One of the financial planners, Karl Leonard Hicks, gave an excellent response that I wanted to share with all of you:
“1. What are people avoiding talking about in our conversations about Money and the Human Experience?
– Two things; what they think are their own weaknesses and mistakes about money; and what they think they are supposed to keep secret (this seems to be different things for different people). 

2. What are people avoiding that they don’t think they’re avoiding?
– The truth about how their own procrastination has affected their financial future. The choices they may now have to make that they don’t want to make or aren’t ready to make.

3. What are we trying to protect? And why?
– Their own ego. Because it’s human nature. The most honest answers I’ve ever gotten are from widows (or widowers) whose spouses handled the money. They have no ego protect on this subject.

4. What goes unsaid?
– The answers to unasked questions. Most people want to hold this information close to their vest and are not always willing to share everything. They also may not know what’s relevant or irrelevant, so they are often not eager to share. So, we must be diligent and sometimes forceful in asking the question to get the information we need to do our jobs properly.” (Karl Leonard Hicks)

I find that the difficulty around money is psychological. It’s about our habits and how we approach money. Is it a forbidden topic or something we embrace?

I would encourage everyone to be more open to discussing finances with their children. I would also encourage everyone to make sure they are always working with a competent financial planner who can help them overcome the big financial decisions in their lives. Remember, we are here to help you understand your own habits and biases as well as how to best overcome them.

Here’s to a better financial future for all of us and generations to follow.

James Rukstalis
President
J.R. Financial