Working Wealthy – What’s My Number?

Situationally speaking, this question might get different answers from different groups of people.

I can still recite the phone number of my childhood home and the number of my best friend. Neither of us has lived at those addresses for over 20 years, but numbers have a funny way of sticking with a person.

Others might flashback to their last trauma at their local deli counter and agonizing over waiting for their number to come up. To this day, I don’t understand how I can pull #24 while they’re serving #9 and there’s only 3 other people waiting – 11 people could not have grabbed a number and left that quickly!

But back to our story. The number many of the Working Wealthy need to know isn’t as permanent as a childhood phone number. It’s actually a rather fluid thing that changes with lifestyle, decision making and even the market.

At BDF, we never invest for clients until we are certain we understand exactly how someone hopes to use their money. Whether someone is retiring, funding college education, selling a business, donating to charity or paying for a wedding, there is always a dollar amount we fix to that goal. 

We’re not affixing numbers to goals to make things permanent or irrevocable. Rather, we’re setting a number for goals in life because that enables us to plan for those events.

Knowing one’s number or numbers for financial goals in life allows you to take the steps along the way to actually realize those objectives. If we can pinpoint for a client the exact amount they need to save between today and their child’s wedding to pay for that event, we’ve done our job. The fact that we set a date for a future (potentially fictitious) wedding is not the point. 

We at least want to know of the goal and then we can plan for it.

And here’s where the Working Wealthy sometimes sell themselves short. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve asked someone about their retirement plan, and the response I get is “I want to be done at X age and that’s about it.”

Sorry, but that’s a horrible answer.

Harken back to the deli counter. You’re not waiting in line for just a handful of turkey. You’re waiting in line to order 1 pound of cheddar cheese, ½ pounds of salami (not too thick) and 2 pounds of honey ham. You know your numbers and your amounts. 

I’m not suggesting retirement or your goals are just a sandwich. But I am suggesting that you wouldn’t just roll into a deli and order one thing in a nondescript amount. If you did, they’d give you the chipped roast beef when you really wanted something very different.

The Working Wealthy know their numbers and they know they need to plan for them. We enjoy being part of that equation and feel it’s our mission to help make those goals happen.


Nick Cosky, CFP® is a Wealth Manager and Owner at BDF and is responsible for educating and introducing prospective clients that are considering hiring BDF for their wealth management needs. In previous roles, Nick has served as the head of BDF’s Financial Planning Committee and has participated on the Business Owner Team and Women’s Service Team. Nick is passionate about the planning that BDF does for its clients and enjoys every aspect of the client-advisor relationship. Nick graduated from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and English. He is a CFP® professional and is a member of the Auxiliary Board at the Art Institute of Chicago.