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Can I offset low-interest rate investment risk with a thoughtful spending plan? © monsitj via iStock
Dec 7, 2016

Can I offset low-interest rate investment risk with a thoughtful spending plan?

Financial freedom: It’s the reward for those who have dedicated years of untold work and risk to build a successful business, or climbed the corporate ladder to the C-suite. Financial freedom is a level of wealth that allows such individuals to buy not just what they need, but just about anything they want. That is, the best of everything.

A friend’s wealthy uncle used to say, “Going first class in life is so much nicer . . . and it really doesn’t cost that much more.” But, there’s first class, and then there’s what we might call “ultra class.”

When it comes to flying, for example, there are first-class tickets to Europe, but there are also pre-paid private-jet membership cards which, for one company cost $119,000 for 25 hours of flight time. Or, just about enough hours for two round-trip flights from New York to Paris—at $60,000 apiece.

Even for high net worth households, $60,000 plane tickets and other ultra-class luxuries can begin to mount up…and up and up. This is not to imply that people who can afford life’s luxuries are spend-thrifts, but, as the saying goes, habits that are easily acquired die hard. And this is not to imply either that surrounding yourself with nice things means your spending is out of control.

But, if you’re renting or building storage space to house your purchases, you might find that it’s time to at least take a look at how you’re spending what are still “hard-earned” dollars.

It is only natural for those who have earned their place in the moneyed class to bristle at the thought of, well, living on a budget.

Given our experience working every day with ultra-high net worth households, we understand that it is only natural for those who have earned their place in the moneyed class to bristle at the thought of, well, living on a budget. Albeit a very large budget, but a budget, as in spending limits, nonetheless.

Before you dismiss the idea of a budget for personal spending, remember: No fortune is bottomless. Also think of this: The people investing your money in this low-interest rate cycle are working every day, and often having to take on more risk to realize meaningful returns. Now, what if I told you it might be possible, if we work together, to match or top that growth without the additional market risk? It is, if you turn your attention to an often overlooked aspect of your financial plan.

First, we would sit down with you and do a thorough analysis of your personal spending, from the smallest expenditures to the most extravagant. This would be step one in creating a personal spending budget. And I will venture to guess that if your net worth is $5 million-plus we can create a spending framework for your family which, without causing significant changes in your lifestyle, could save you as much on your spending as you are realizing on your investing.

Remember, whether you save the money or earn the money, it is still money in your pocket. Also, having everyone know and agree on what that framework defines as “reasonable spending” doesn’t mean you can’t have what you want. It just means you will buy a whole lot less of what you really, really don’t need.

Jack Benny, the iconic and beloved comedian from the early days of television, once said:
“Try to save something while your salary is small. It’s impossible to save after you begin to earn more.” In our view, Mr. Benny was half right, because with a well-thought- out plan, few things are impossible.

Revolution Wealth Advisors is a marketing name for John Robert Mara and Shaun M. Feldeisen in their capacity as representatives of Northwestern Mutual and is not a legal business name. Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI (NM) (life and disability insurance, annuities and life insurance with long-term care benefits) and its subsidiaries. John Robert Mara and Shaun M. Feldeisen are Representatives of Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company® (NMWMC), Milwaukee, WI (fiduciary and fee-based financial planning services), a subsidiary of NM and federal savings bank. All NMWMC products and services are offered only by properly credentialed Representatives who operate from agency offices of NMWMC. Representatives are Insurance Agents of NM, and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI (long-term care insurance), a subsidiary of NM, and a Registered Representative of Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (NMIS) (securities), a subsidiary of NM, broker-dealer, registered investment adviser and member FINRA and SIPC.

This article was originally published in the December 2016/January 2017 issue of Worth.

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