I can’t believe it is already October. Time to ready the costume, carve the pumpkin, and watch scary movies (with a healthy helping of Halloween candy). It’s the time of year when a full moon, a little fog, and things that go bump in the night make us little more jumpy than usual. It is time of year for fear to have its close up. Fear plays an interesting role in finance and the work we do at RS Crum, Inc. It comes up in expected and unusual ways. But I want to talk a little bit about some of the more common fears financial advisors see.
Do I have enough money to retire? or Will I run out of money.
This is two sides of the same coin and they are common fears. Certainly, no one wants to have to make a lifestyle change to retire. Whether that means spending less, downsizing, or working longer than planned or desired. Or, heaven forbid, running out of money with years of life left. It is often the driving force prompting people to seek a financial advisor. These fears can be addressed and hopefully lessened and managed. There are no guarantees, but simple steps of starting early and a little planning goes a long way to resolving these fears.
Saving early leverages the power of compounding earnings; there is no more powerful force in finance than time. Retirement planning helps us to understand the uncertainties and choices we have for this major life transition. That understanding provides a great deal of comfort and acceptance. Planning will not be able to tell us every turn life brings, but it will help to maintain a general course and also help with those unplanned course corrections along the way.
A major market loss tests even the most experienced investor’s mettle. It will consume your mind and make you forget any success you might have had previously. Despite how smart we think we are, fear has been proven to be a powerful motivator. It can (and has) lead to a disastrous cycle of bad (emotional) decisions as illustrated below.
We have had our fair share memorable market disruptions in the last 20 years – Dot Com Bust, 9/11, Great Recession, and Covid-19. However, things are not hopeless, we do not have to fall victim to our emotions. Having an investment plan helps. One that takes into account each investors unique risk and considers what to do when markets turn and recessions occur. Having a trusted investment partner or advisor to discuss fear(s) and options and acts as a thinking partner can help avoid rash decisions in stressful markets. Decisions that might provide temporary relief, but compound problems in the longer term.
We would rather talk about their intimate relationships than talk about death. I get it, no one wants to contemplate their mortality, we live in the NOW!. The truth is, you are doing your children and loved ones a favor speaking to an estate planning attorney. The act of preparing simple wills or trust can help protect your estate and your heirs. There are a number of recent laws enacted in California as well as proposed legislation making its way through Congress that will have a major impact. If it has been a while since your estate plan has been reviewed or you have put off making a plan this is a must do, soon or at the very least in 2022.
One last note, include a letter in your estate plan for your heirs. Let them know what is important to you and how you might like your gift to them be used to uplift their life(s). It helps reinforce a family legacy for generations to come.
Fear and money are nothing new, they have been linked for as long as history. Case in point, there is an actual identified fear of wealth, called Plutophobia. This comes from the Roman god, Pluto, who was the Roman god of wealth. Here is the catch, Pluto was modeled after the Greek god Hades. That’s right! The god of wealth is also the keeper of the underworld. Arguably the most feared god in any pantheon. It makes me wonder what else the ancient Greeks knew that we don’t?