“Financial advisors need to remind clients why we started the planning process and to watch their recreational spending because this town is too dang fun!”
Tell me if this sounds familiar when you tell people you are from San Diego: “You’re from San Diego? We love San Diego!”
I have to admit, it makes me feel good to be in a place that’s so desirable. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, I have had the privilege of providing financial advice for San Diegans for the last 20 years and what I have learned is that San Diegans have a fairly unique puzzle to solve if they want to reach financial independence, especially if they want to live out their days in “America’s Finest City,” sunny San Diego. Here are six concerns San Diego financial advisors need to focus on to get their clients where they want to go:
1) Taxes. Our state taxes alone will take as much a 13.3% off the top of your income. This feels excessive when compared to most other states, including ones with warm weather, too, like Nevada, Texas and Florida, which have no state income tax at all. The more your financial advisor collaborates with your tax advisor the better in a California town like San Diego.
2) Here Today, Gone Tomorrow. People and businesses seem to come in and out of San Diego like it’s a bee’s nest. This has to do with the fact that it is a major military town, but also because we have other unique dynamics such as economic cycle sensitivity. It’s only a matter of time in between each up and down economic cycle and this pits the desirability of living and working here against things that, under certain circumstances, make it too hard to stay — like high housing costs, high personal tax rates, and high costs to have a business here. This why financial advisors need to have the ability to function virtually. Even when people move out of the area, it may be in their best interest to continue to work with their San Diego financial advisor if a good, trusting relationship has been developed. This can still work well by using the great ways to communicate that exist in this day and age.
3) The Weather. If you live in San Diego, you’re almost obligated to be active and outdoors. Our recreation has almost no off-season and this is true for our kids, too. For example, San Diego’s a hotbed for developing baseball talent, with “winter ball Little League seasons” and “travel-ballers” who get to practice in a climate where you may go several winter months in a row without ever getting rained-out. Financial advisors need to remind clients why we started the planning process and to watch their recreational spending because this town is too dang fun!
4) Competition. San Diego abounds with “financial advisors.” Some are insurance-based, some are wirehouse based and some are independent. Clients often are tempted with free meals to attend seminars and presentations at the expense of listening to someone’s pitch. This means San Diego financial advisors need to be very good at what they do. Those who provide comprehensive advice have a better chance of developing loyalty than advisors who are using the “financial advisor” moniker to sell a product.
5) Real Estate Appreciation. This is as much of a good problem as it is a bad problem, but it does put a lot more emphasis on planning. As families accumulate real estate holdings, financial advisors need to communicate with their tax advisor before endorsing a client’s desire to sell a gifted or low-basis property because so much value, when sold, can create a whopping tax bill. All alternatives need to be evaluated and sometimes the solution is to keep the property and enjoy the rental income stream.
6) Disbelief. “We’ll never be able to retire here,” is something we hear frequently. It probably is one of the biggest reasons San Diegans should strive to have a living, breathing, financial plan. Nowadays, you can have a financial plan, with everything that’s important to you plugged into it, that updates daily on your phone — a stark difference from the old days, when a financial plan was a stack of paper that was already out-of-date by your next annual review. You can know the probability that you’ll be able to meet your goals, valuable information when it comes to decision-making. When each decision can be measured by how it affects your probability of success, how much easier is it to build a life? For some, it means growing their roots in San Diego because they’re confident they’re here for good.
What’s your probability of reaching your ideal set of goals for your life? We call that your WorthPointe Freedom Score, and we invite you to explore it and other ways we can help you live your San Diego dream at www.wpwm.com.
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