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Am I REALLY Going to be OK?
The real question behind all other questions
At the bottom of each of these weekly emails, I encourage you to reply with questions or suggestions for future topics.
I typically wrap up each of my personal emails to clients with something like, “If you need anything or have any questions, please let me know…”
And at the close of virtually every phone conversation or Zoom meeting, I want to make sure we’ve addressed all that’s on your mind and have answered any questions you may have.
If we’re working together on your financial planning or simply having a conversation and you don’t feel like your questions have been answered to your satisfaction, then I’ve got more work to do.
But among all the questions I’ve been asked throughout my 30 years as a financial advisor, including questions about:
specific goal planning like
caring for an aging parent
what if XXXX gets elected?
and much, much more…
…it’s my belief that behind each and every one of these questions, people really just want to know, “Am I going to be OK?”
I’ve written about this before, in July of last year:
But it’s an important topic that is worth revisiting.
As I wrote in the article linked above and as I indirectly addressed a couple of weeks ago, you first have to define what “OK” means to you personally…
Is it a certain level of income?
A net worth statement with a specific number on it?
Providing for your family on your own terms?
Doing work you enjoy and find invigorating?
Becoming financial independent and making work “optional”?
Seeing your children be happy?
Giving back to your community?
All of the above?
Something else entirely?
Put another way, how much does your version of “OK” cost?
And I’m not just talking in financial terms here.
Whether you work with a financial advisor like me or tackle this yourself, I can’t tell you how important it is to start by taking the time and giving yourself the space to think deeply about where it is you want to go - both literally and figuratively.
In the words of Roy Disney,
Decision making is easy when your values are clear.
And yes, your values are another important aspect to gaining clarity and comfort around your version of “OK.”
If you’re still with me on this, I’ve got some news to share…
Once you’ve spent the time to explore and figure out what your unique, personal definition of “OK” is for your life - and the lives of those you care most about - the clarity can be wonderful.
It can serve as a north star to help guide you in your financial and broader life decisions.
But life will still happen. To you and all around you.
You’ll still hear news stories that make you think the sky is falling.
You’ll wonder if you’re on the right track.
You’ll fear for your financial future.
You’ll worry about the world that your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will be dealing with long after you’re no longer around.
In your mind you’ll ask yourself, “what if things are different this time?”
And if you spend enough time ruminating on this line of questioning you’ll realize what you’re really asking is:
Am I REALLY Going to be OK?
And here’s the truth… I absolutely believe you’ll be OK.
Yes, we’ll have to make some adjustments and course corrections along the way.
You may not wind up exactly where you’d planned or hoped to be at this point in your life.
And in the future, perhaps you’ll wind up retiring a year or two later than planned. Of course, you may have the opportunity to retire a year or two sooner.
Maybe we’ll have to take more investment risk at some point along your journey. And likewise, perhaps we can afford to reduce your investment risk.
Same with your savings, your spending, how much you can travel, or anything else that’s important to you.
Just remember, change is inevitable.
Your financial plan is no exception. Your plan should be fluid and flexible and nimble enough to accommodate whatever life throws at us.
No, we still can’t predict the future. Though there are many out there that will try to convince you otherwise.
But through ongoing communication, regularly reviewing, adjusting, and stress-testing you plan, and making sure we’re clear on what you’re planning for, we can absolutely help bring you more clarity and confidence around making sure you’re OK.
Remember, it’s a plan.
Not a formula.
It’s not chiseled in stone.
And plans - even the best ones - change.
There will always be questions and concerns that I won’t have an answer for. I want you to know that upfront.
But I’m happy to talk with you about them and revisit your financial plan to reinforce the fact that whatever the future may bring, we’ve likely accounted for it in your financial plan.
All in an effort to make sure you’ll be OK.
Any questions? 😉
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Links & Things
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Until next Wednesday,