As financial planners, some of the most important conversations we have with clients are not about money—at least, not exactly. You see, discussions about money and finance are typically about the “how”: “How am I going to pay for college for my kids?” “How am I going to be able to retire comfortably?” “How am I going to keep from paying too much in taxes?” And so on.
But it’s often more important to ask the “why” questions: “Why is retirement important?” “Why does a college education matter?” “Why is this particular cause or organization of consequence to me?” “Why should I invest my money in a particular way?”
The fact is that money, though it is necessary for most of the things we care about in life, isn’t really what we care about. We care about security; we care about helping those we love; we care about having meaningful experiences. None of those are monetary, strictly speaking, but money is certainly involved.
That’s why it is important to have the right emotional attitudes about money and investing. And most of those attitudes tend to center around concepts that are central to both investing and life in general: uncertainty, planning, flexibility, and compounding. Let’s take a look at how these principles apply, both in finance and in life.
Uncertainty. It’s a given that life is uncertain. There are so many things we can’t control that can have a tremendous impact on our lives. But we also know that if we wait until we are absolutely certain before taking action, we’d never do anything! Similarly, you can make wise investment decisions without knowing what the market is going to do during any specific time period. The important thing to remember is that you’re investing in the ability of well-run companies to make good decisions over the long haul.
Planning. In a similar way, you don’t have to know everything that’s going to happen in order to make a plan. Many of us go to work every day with a plan for what we intend to accomplish, but we also know that things may come up during the day that shift our focus and change our plans. The same is true for your financial strategy. Your priorities or your circumstances may change over time, necessitating a change in your plan. But you still need to have a plan in place.
Flexibility. We all know that the ability to shift course when needed is essential in life. Given life’s inherent uncertainty, it’s foolish to think that we aren’t ever going to need to alter an approach or change a tactic, now and then. In fact, if you think about people you’ve known who have achieved great success or overcome difficult obstacles, you’ll probably realize that, rather than being stiff and unbending, they were able to adapt—to be flexible. And it’s the same with your investments. While you shouldn’t change everything around every time there’s a new headline in the financial news, your strategy should allow for creative adaptation in certain circumstances.
Compounding. When you think about it, the experiences we have in life provide us with the opportunity to learn and gain insight. As these insights build on one another, we start to gain wisdom. In this way, wisdom is the life equivalent of compound interest or investment value. Just as learning from past experiences helps you make better future decisions, giving your investments the time to compound and grow helps you create a stronger financial legacy.
At Empyrion Wealth, we understand that your approach to finance and investing is as unique as you are. That’s why the largest investment we make is the time spent getting to know each client as thoroughly as possible. To learn more about why getting the right financial advisor matters, click here to read our white paper, “The Informed Investor.”
Stay Diversified, Stay YOUR Course!