Regardless of the outcome of today’s election, we will all get out of bed tomorrow, put our pants on one leg at a time and go about our life’s work. Knowing what to be concerned about (and what not to) will make life, from a financial perspective, a bit less stressful. In times of change, questions arise, but knowing which questions to focus on requires perspective.
At SRQ Wealth Management, our work, at its core, consists of helping clients answer two questions:
1. “Do I have enough?”
2. “Are there any financial blind spots that I’ve missed?”
So, given the “state of the union,” are you comfortable with your answers to these questions?
If you’re a history buff like I am, you realize that while this has been one of the most negative, publicized campaigns (that is until the next one), previous campaigns were even uglier. In 1804, Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton in a duel after repeated attacks of Burr’s character by Hamilton. This “affair of honor” as it was called, resulted in Hamilton’s death the following day.
Now, in a similarly contentious environment, this is an election where many of the votes might well be votes against the other candidate more than they are a vote for their candidate… not a comfortable feeling, especially when you are left wondering about your own financial future. And with items such as healthcare, taxes, jobs, Medicare, Social Security and many others in flux, how is one able to feel secure?
First, let’s alleviate some of the stress and take a few items off of the table that we believe you shouldn’t be worried about; not that they aren’t important, just that historically the outcome of elections have had little affect on the outcomes of these six truths.
1. Gridlock doesn’t mean that nothing gets done – without a majority in the House and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, legislation will be lessened, but not stopped.
2. Changes in Washington don’t happen all at once – only in rare instances does policy change quickly. Sometimes issues are debated for decades.
3. Campaign rhetoric doesn’t always influence what actually happens – situations change, opportunities changes and outside influences drive new decisions.
4. Capitalism has a far greater impact on the economy than the government – after almost 20 years in this industry and five elections, this has been a truth experienced, not just learned from books.
5. The state of the economy influences who becomes President, not vice versa – see point #4. Presidents have less of an affect on the economy than the economy does on the President.
6. The stock market doesn’t care if the public is happy with the President – some of the market’s worst periods were when the President’s approval rating was high. So if you don’t like the next President, you may like your portfolio’s values! (For the complete research done by Oppenheimer, click here)
Feel better? Probably not, because this still doesn’t address your concerns.
I vividly remember having these conversations in previous election years. Clients were concerned that the media was doing its job, and felt that it was creating large bastions of sensationalism. In the end, clients had one question…
“Am I okay?”
That’s it, isn’t it? In the end, people just want to know that they will be okay.
Yes, we want to know how the new President will run the country. Yes, we want to have clarity on financial and monetary policies. And yes, we want a country as strong and stable as our forefathers envisioned for us, our children and grandchildren. Now that we have eliminated some of the worries, we can focus on what is most important in our relationships with our clients… them.
As in previous years, we have done our homework, prepared comprehensive financial plans, discussed how to pay for expenses, looked at tax strategies and funded college savings vehicles; and consequently are able to have clients feeling confident about their futures.
There are several steps to work towards this level of confidence. Hiring a professional is only Step #1. Discussing strategies that look good on paper that actually get implemented is Step #2. But Step #3, the one most clients are missing, is finding someone willing to tell you the “unvarnished truth” at the moment you need to hear it. Someone that guides you through the storm, provides wisdom where there is only noise…someone who coaches you toward your goals.
It reminds me of this timeless wisdom from legendary coach, Lou Holtz.
“Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.”
How will you respond to it? Are you okay?
Maybe it’s time to have a “Financial Coach” not just another financial advisor.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual