As you work through the planning process, you will begin to feel like you are taking control and moving forward. Even if it feels a little wobbly at first.

Learning to ride a bike can be a serious rite of passage for kids. It can also pose a serious challenge for some. My son still struggles with it.

Even though it may be challenging initially, we can often jump right back on a bike and ride it. Regardless of how long it’s been. Sometimes, even after years of being away.

Somewhere along the way you’ve heard the expression “it’s just like riding a bike.” This expression is most often used to describe something that is difficult to forget how to do. Other than riding a bike. (Duh).

Many musicians, for example, can be away from their instrument for years and pick right up where they left off. There are relationships in our lives that can feel much the same way.

We often pick right up with friends or family we don’t often see as though no time has passed.  In helping our clients, I’ve learned that this idea can apply to our personal financial planning as well.


Learning to ride

There are some basic truths that you probably already know when it comes to handling money.  They may be simple to understand but not always  easy to implement or adhere to. Kind of like learning to ride a bike.

Things like spending less than we earn and saving money each month are pretty basic. These are the things we teach our kids from an early age.

However, as life happens, there are times when we lose sight of these basic truths.  Sometimes this may not be by choice but by circumstances outside of our control. Before we know it we find ourselves off-track.

Navigating your personal finances can be a lot like learning to ride a bike. And our role as Financial Advisors can be looked at as similar, in many ways, to the that of a parent teaching a kid how to ride for the first time.


Guidance and Support

Think of what it was like the first time you rode a bike.  You probably had sense of what you were supposed to do from seeing others doing it.

Yet, when you sat on the seat gripping the handle bars for the first time it may have felt a bit uncomfortable. It’s not unusual to feel this way when meeting with an Advisor for the first time.

Maybe you were referred by a friend after they had a positive experience. But you aren’t sure if we work with people like you. You may even have a general idea of what to expect but sitting down with someone to discuss money may make you feel nervous or anxious at first.

That’s okay and is to be expected.

But like the first time you sat on a bike, simply working up the courage to give it a try is half the battle.  From there it’s merely committing continual learning and practice until you master it.

Think of your Advisor as a parent holding onto the bike seat. We can help steady you and give you confidence as you get your bearings.  We walk alongside you at the beginning of the process as we work together to establish where you are now and the direction in which direction you are headed.

Then, we help determine what it might take to get you there. We know it takes balance and coordination to ride a bicycle without crashing and so does handling your finances.


Trusting the Process

Finding that place of balance takes practice.  It’s is made easier when your Advisor is holding onto the seat to help keep you upright. As you work through the planning process, you will begin to feel like you are taking control and moving forward. Even if it feels a little wobbly at first.

Your Advisor may make suggestions to you along the way like protecting yourself by wearing a helmet (or using insurance). And knowing how to use the brakes or to safely navigate traffic (understanding things like your investment risk tolerance).

As you become more confident, you will soon find yourself gliding along effortlessly down the path of financial independence. And when something in your life changes, your Advisor can offer guidance to help keep you on track.

Along the way there will certainly be bumps in the road. There will even be times where you feel like you are getting off-track or, worse, times where you may have a financial wreck.

Your Advisor will be there for you to pick you up and dust you off, assess the damage, and show you the steps to get you quickly on your way. You will remember the personal finance basics that you’ve learned and feel confident again about having a revised plan of action.

And find soon enough, that, as the old cliche says, it really is just like riding a bike.


Material discussed is for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as tax, legal, or investment advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual solutions can vary. Therefore, the information should be relied upon only when coordinated with individual professional advice. This material contains  the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Guardian or its subsidiaries and such opinions are subject to change without notice.