As I have gotten older, I have tried to be diligent about expanding my knowledge by reading books on a variety of topics including nature, finance, psychology, and more. I think there is something to be said for being well versed in a multitude of different areas.
One nugget of wisdom that has stayed with me since I read it a few years back was by self-help guru Tony Robbins. I recall that Tony Robbins said that there are more or less three choices one can make that can significantly alter their trajectory in life. What does this mean to me? What am I going to focus on? How am I going to react? Like many, I have generally been confined to my home for the last few months and I have found myself, again, reflecting on these three choices in an attempt to find a silver lining as we navigate this uncharted territory. At the commencement of this pandemic, I, like many Americans, was not a huge fan of the declining markets, isolating at home, the loss of income, and the looming health crisis and how it could impact my friends and family. I’ve found myself looking at this situation and asking what does this all mean? What should I be focusing on, and how am I going to react?
At first, I’d have to say that I was having a “pity party” in my head, but after I truly answered those three questions for myself, I concluded that it’s not all bad. I am now reflecting on the incredible opportunities this time has afforded me. I have more time with my daughter and I am strengthening my relationship with my wife as we work together to figure out how to juggle our new reality of managing two full time jobs and our infant daughter without a daycare. Let’s also not forget all of the home projects I have now had more time to complete. On top of it all, I am enjoying some extra time to think about my personal, professional, and financial goals and contemplate my impact as it directly pertains to the world of finance.
In my opinion, in life, it often comes down to choice. We have a choice to view the glass half-empty or half-full, and I think with the right choice can come a tremendous amount of good. As we enter the 5th month of truly experiencing the impact of this virus pandemic on our daily lives, I think a lot of us have developed a newfound appreciation for certain experiences we once took for granted. I think this situation has forced many of us to stop and smell the roses. We have all seen people impacted from a health and/or financial perspective by COVID-19.
As part of all my self-reflection, I have also asked myself, how does this all tie into what I do and what I believe is in the value proposition that Atlas and myself bring to the table. My answer to that question was clear to me as I spoke to my clients throughout this pandemic. I recognized that I am in a position to provide guidance and some level of security during times of uncertainty. I can be a trusted voice and truly work in the best interests of my clients.
Being a planner at heart, I wanted to take a few minutes to touch on the importance of planning and using my newly found (or improved) appreciation to choose to react in a beneficial way. If we look at the financial planning process and the very nature of its purpose, I believe I am helping my clients plan for and protect what each client appreciates most in life. It could mean ensuring there are enough resources to live that desired retirement, providing for a child’s education, protecting loved ones in the event of a premature death or disability, ensuring loved ones have the care they need as they age, and/or prioritizing legacy goals. If planning is something that has been put on the back burner due to lack of time, cost, or priorities, I would challenge everyone to take this time to reflect on what is important and ask yourself… “is there a plan in place?”