This piece is not the blog I originally intended for this week. I was already writing on another topic, when I listened to the homily delivered last Saturday by Fr. Paul Scalia at the Funeral Mass for his father, Justice Antonin Scalia. Whatever your particular beliefs might be, I encourage you to read the words so eloquently spoken by Fr. Scalia because the themes carry over to our financial lives as well.
To borrow the primary theme from Fr. Scalia, we look in three directions when considering our financial lives. Our past, of course is comprised both of ideas and strategies that worked well…and others that did not. Our present, which is where we live out our daily lives and seek to make good decisions, both small and large. Finally, our future, which essentially is the sum of all our choices over time.
We can’t change the past, but the residue of poor decisions remains with us even as we make choices today. It’s no secret that one of the commonalities among our clients is that most carry at least some taste of poor experiences, (with brokers or other “advisors”), and poor decisions in the past. At some point, the pain of those poor outcomes lead them towards another direction.
The only thing we can control is what we do today. Are we saving what we should?; Are we remaining disciplined in the face of market tumult?; Are we on path with our longer term planning goals?
As many of you have heard us say, financial planning is contingency planning and that contingency is whether we will be here days or decades. None of us are in possession of that knowledge. Our financial future indeed is comprised of what we have done, (or not done), in the past carried forward to the actions we take today. Just as Fr. Scalia reminded us in his homily, we still have an “opportunity” to make changes to positively impact our future. Ready for a real conversation?