The year was 1988 and I was expecting my first child. A mere child myself at the young age of 24, I was more than a bit nervous. As an avid reader, I did what any other first time mother-to-be would do, I purchased the popular book – What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
The How-To guide was 587 pages long and was filled with enough information on childbirth to scare even an obstetrician. But, every night after work, I plowed through the book making sure I was completely prepared for the task that was ahead of me.
The big event arrived on June 24, 1988 and despite being informed that one’s first labor lasts between 24 and 48 hours, my daughter, Kathryn, dutifully arrived shortly after my arrival to the hospital with hardly a minute to spare.
The guide book had steered me wrong.
Our little bundle of joy came home two days later to our tiny apartment in Manhattan. So, being a new mother and unsure of what was ahead of me, I purchased the next logical book What to Expect the First Year.
Anyone who has read this popular book will remember that each chapter was titled by months.
Month 1 – Your baby should be eating and sleeping every four hours.
Month 2 – Your baby should be smiling and rolling over. You get the idea.
And for some strange reason, my wonderful daughter Kathryn was not always on target.
Every night I would go over the guidebook and worry that maybe Kathryn was falling behind. By the sixth month, after driving my husband Dan crazy, he informed me that the guidebook had to go!
I can happily report that Kathryn has made it through her childhood, quite successfully, in spite of all of the guidebooks that her mother purchased. I started to think how many guidebooks are available on every subject you can think of, including financial planning. They can be informational, but may not be helpful to one’s individual circumstances.
The guidebooks for financial planning are plentiful, but sometimes you need more than a book. You need a personal financial coach to help guide you through the difficult and personal financial decisions that may not be addressed in the guidebook. So, read the guidebooks if you must, but be aware that a financial coach may be your best guide.
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