Financial Advisers Keep Their Clients From Procrastinating

Well, all know this isn’t true.

But it isn’t your fault.  This last year Gary Duell was the procrastinator.  None of the smartest people in the room (not including yours truly) could agree on what was going to happen and what to do about it.
 
Now that a major source of craziness will largely be out of the picture, I’m more comfortable with recommendations for this year:
 
  1. Focus on Goals and Cash Flow-  block out the massive media intrusions into your lizard brain, the eat, lust, fight, flight instincts.  Focus on your goals and the plans in place- or that we’re working on -to achieve them.  Review your budgets and determine which expenses are in your control and which don’t contribute to your goals.  Then eliminate them.
  2. Manage Risk- note that I don’t say avoid risk, commonly defined as volatility.  As I say repeatedly in my classes, when you’re accumulating savings volatility is your friend due to dollar cost averaging.  When you’re spending, or on the cusp of spending, your retirement funds then volatility is your enemy.  Manage where and to what degree you allow volatility in your portfolio.  This usually consists of either algorithm-based risk managed ETF and/or third party backed guarantees.
  3. Remember Taxes!  Taxes, not healthcare, will be your largest retirement expenditure (on average).  Do you have a plan for future [higher] taxation?
  4. Be a perpetual student.  Recent studies have shown investors procrastinate 5-10 years before implementing our advice.  That hasn’t been my experience.  But I get chagrined if my clients wait 5-10 months!  Especially now.  So never stop listening and learning.
  5. Seek good returns but follow evidence and ethics.  As data becomes easier and easier to collect and analyze, the bad actors in our economy will be taken out of the game.  It’s inevitable.  I am really encouraged by the surge in ESG, SR & Impact investing.  Most of us know without being told that lying, cheating and stealing never work out well in the end.  Companies that foist their costs onto the environment or other people will either evolve or die.  Don’t invest in them.
  6. Take care of your physical, mental and social health.  Without a mind and body it’s tough to enjoy anything.  Keeping connected to others, to nature and things outside yourself, your odds are improved!

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