Control What You Can Control

One benefit of aging is experience. Although I'm technically middle age, I've seen my share of incredibly great times and incredibly bad times. It has definitely shaped my perspective as both a physician and financial planner.

Many of our clients have heard me talk often about "Are you happy now?" Are you happy with your work, how you spend your time, the quality of your relationships? Is how you are living and spending your money congruent with your values and goals for a good life?

I harp on this because we cannot predict the future. Most of us will live a very long life, some will die too young, and all of us will face challenges along the way. We need to make the best of every day we have so our regrets are minimized if our dance ends way too soon.

Financial planning has traditionally focused on investing and planning for retirement. That focus is mostly misplaced. Financial planning needs to be about creating a better life in the present and at the same time create resiliency for whatever happens along the way. This has long been our approach in what we do for our clients.

So what about now? The current events are concerning to say the least.

On the financial side, you have a plan - you have an emergency fund, understand your cash flow needs, know your estate plan and insurance are up to snuff, and are invested in an asset allocation that takes into account your ability to take risk. You are prepared to weather this upheaval. You have controlled what you can control.

Yes, the market is crazy right now and there are many unknowns. Clients who were with us in 2009 and 2010 remember the pain well and they understand the importance of not taking undue risk. We encouraged them to keep spending as they had been, because uncertain times are baked into their plan and their asset allocation. And they did, and they are fine to this day.

So for our newer clients who haven't been through this before - try not to use worry minutes over the things you can't control. We've already controlled for the amount of risk you can take, so you are going to be okay.

On the health side, stay safe. Practice "social distancing" for the time being. There was a great article in the New York Times on what this is and why it is important. Stock up on medications and essentials to minimize the need to be in crowds. Of course everyone knows to wash their hands frequently and self-quarantine if you are ill.

How is Life Planning Partners prepared? We all have the ability to work remotely and have long had technology in place to have video meetings. We are there for you, and we consider each other and our clients as a "tribe" - we'll get through this.

Let us know what is on your mind and anything else we can do to help ease your worry minutes.

Sincerely and with great appreciation,

Life Planning Partners, Inc.