How is Financial Planning Like Buying a Computer?

How is Financial Planning Like Buying a Computer?

October 11, 2017

Four years ago, I bought a laptop with high-end features at the time. I figured it would last me about 4 ½ to 5 years since that’s how long previous laptops have lasted me. I thought I had a good 5-year plan.

I was wrong. Recently, the dreaded blue screen of death has come up multiple times citing memory issues. It’s a good laptop and it’s only been 4 years, so I couldn’t figure out why.

I had my firm’s IT professional look at it and he knew exactly what was wrong. He explained to me how the applications that we use nowadays are different than they were 4 years ago. They are more web-based now, which requires more memory than the older applications did.

My Experience Computer Shopping

Ultimately, I decided to buy a new computer. But which one? Looking at the abundance of options out there, I just ended up with more questions.

Which brand should I buy? What specifications do I need? Where should I buy it? If you’ve shopped for a computer recently, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

The answers to those questions had to be derived from my expectations. How much do I want to pay? How long do I expect my computer to last? Will it be stationary or will it be traveling to various locations?

The outcome, my actual purchase of a computer, came from what appeared to be an easy question, which computer to buy. But it was anything but easy. Getting to that end result wasn’t as simple as I thought it would be.

Financial Planning Is Like Buying A Computer

I’m not a computer expert. At the end of the day, I just wanted my IT guy to simply tell me which computer to buy so I could get on with my day and do other things. But I probably would not have been satisfied with the results if we hadn’t taken the time to answer all of those questions.

I have realized that financial planning is a lot like my experience of buying a computer. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer for computers or finances, no matter how much we would like that to be true.

There Is No One-Size-Fits-All Answer

When it comes to finances, people have certain goals in mind, things they want to do with their money. This could be travel, buying a house, retiring comfortably, paying for their children’s education, etc. You might think the answer to attaining each of those goals is just to save money, but it’s not as simple as that.

There are various strategies and investment vehicles that can be used to work towards those goals. Which strategy is best depends on the specific goal and other factors, such as the time horizon or your personal situation. The best way for you to save for retirement may not be the best for your neighbor. And the best way to save for a vacation probably isn’t the best way to save for college.

A good financial advisor will take the time to ask you all of the important questions. Just like my IT guy helped me think through what I was looking for in a computer before making any recommendations, your financial advisor should get to know your unique situation and needs in order to determine the most appropriate course of action for you.

What You Need From A Financial Advisor

I really didn’t want to take the time to become an expert in computers, though it did help to understand the basics. I just wanted someone who knew what he was talking about to tell me what to do. There are other things I’d rather spend my time doing than learning about the inner workings of a laptop.

A lot of people are the same way with money. You don’t want to become a financial professional. You have other things you’d rather do with your time. Things you actually enjoy.

However, it is important for you to understand the basics so that you know you’re on the right track. And you need to think through some of the important questions so that you know which track you should be on in the first place.

How I Can Help

I have a program for people just like you, the Decision Coach Program. With the Decision Coach Program, we spend a year together looking at your goals and thinking through all of the questions that will help us develop a plan to work towards those goals. You will have the opportunity to work with an experienced financial professional to develop a personalized financial strategy instead of being sold a one-size-fits-all “solution.” Call my office today at (949) 221-8105 x 2128 or email me at to learn more.

About Mike Loo

Mike Loo is an independent financial advisor with more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. His mission is to provide a meaningful impact on the lives of clients and the people they care most about, help them make educated decisions with their money, and build a strong financial foundation for both themselves and their next generation.  Mike is committed to meeting a high standard of excellence, taking the time to listen to clients’ needs, and designing strategies that aim to help clients save money and reduce debt. He seeks to fit a client’s investments into their life and educate them so they’ll understand their investments. To learn more about how Mike may be able to help, connect with him on LinkedIn, call his office at (949) 221-8105 x 2128, or email him at

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Trilogy Capital, a registered investment advisor. Trilogy Capital and Trilogy Financial are separate entities from LPL Financial.

Investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.