Choosing the right financial road
When you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there. – Lewis Carroll.
This is true in life, careers, and our financial futures. It is particularly relevant when the stock market is as volatile as it has been throughout 2020. Our human tendency is to react in ways that undermine our long-term investment success, motivated through either fear or greed. We are especially susceptible when we don’t have clarity about where we are going.
So how do we embrace the financial responsibility to choose the right road for ourselves, and how do we stay on it? Here are three important steps to keep in mind:
- Start with your destination in sight. Thoughtfully consider how you want to spend your time and your resources today and into the future. There are many topics to think about, including what age you would like to retire, your desired lifestyle in retirement, your health, your perception of financial security, potential career changes, your financial obligations to others, the legacy that you hope to leave to your children, and/or your philanthropic wishes.
We often hear people say that they are so busy with their professional lives and raising children, they don’t have time to focus on these questions until they are close to retirement. Keep in mind,“any road” will take you somewhere as your investments accumulate, but it may not be your destination of choice.
- Increase your financial knowledge. There are countless resources available which can familiarize you with investing principles. One book that’s both concise and fundamental is Nick Murray’s “Simple Wealth, Inevitable Wealth” (2019 20th Anniversary Edition). Even for non-beginners, it is filled with good information to reinforce what you may already know.
Some writers might have a bias towards a particular investing style with enviable tales of success, but keep your eyes wide open. This is where a broader level of knowledge will enable you to question the premise.
If you want to continuously learn in smaller bites, or to keep yourself current with recent trends, you may want to “follow” on social media—think LinkedIn– those people, firms, or publications that you believe are both trustworthy and informative. Stay focused on those that take a long-term view rather than those that are highly reactive to a moment in time.
- Work with a professional who feels like a partner. While some would rather use a do-it-yourself approach, many others are seeking a relationship with a professional. Trust should be high on the list of important characteristics of a good advisor. To build that trust look for someone who listens well, helps you create and stay on your personalized road, watches your back, keeps you informed, and has a willingness and desire to increase your financial knowledge. A good advisor is your ongoing partner in reaching your destination.
If you find yourself more concerned than confident of your financial future, use these three steps as a starter to achieving peace of mind and an opening road for your financial future.
Suzanne Mestayer is managing principal of ThirtyNorth Investments, LLC.
All investment strategies have the potential for profit or loss.
ThirtyNorth Investments, LLC, is registered as an investment advisor with the SEC and only transacts business in states where it is properly registered, or is excluded or exempted from registration requirements
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