Our work with clients involves much more than investments…it’s about life. We sometimes ask clients to think about their financial past. What have been the high points? The low? What is the overall story? How does this differ from the ideal?
More often than not, new clients come here with acute financial concerns. Many times, these short-term matters are the result of confused priorities. Again, a simple exercise can help. Try to describe, in a single sentence your most pressing worry. What would be a good outcome? a good solution? This is a starting place to creating action steps concentrating on next actions.
Author David Allen, in his book Getting Things Done says “There is usually an inverse relationship between how much something is on your mind and how much it’s getting done”. A recent study of affluent investors by brokerage firm Legg Mason found that investors spent 475 hours per year worrying about money. That’s 20 full days each year! Lots of worry but often very little action.
Most financial life stories revolve around things that “should have” been done and things that “should not have” been done. Mental stress (the opposite of peace of mind) comes from carrying around all those things in your head that you need to do, including many items within the financial realm. In reality, most of these are what might be called “half-commitments”, things that we say we are committed to achieving but where we have not taken concrete action.
Themes tend to repeat within our financial lives…some for good, some not. Good intentions are one thing, actual action steps another. The price you pay for financial neglect can be very high. Thinking about taking positive steps towards financial life goals is a beginning but the other half of action is “doing”.
With more than three decades of experience working with successful individuals, I can attest that the single largest stumbling block to accomplishing goals lies in the structure of the goals. That is, lack of clarity about the precise long-term goal. More income or better returns are not specific goals. Having sufficient financial resources to last a lifetime is a real goal. Ready for a real conversation?