July 13

An Advisor’s View on Money

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Q: So, as a financial advisor, you have a pretty interesting relationship with money, how you think about it, so can you go in a little bit about that relationship?

 

A: Well I think that I want to know that money is not a person. Money is not someone to comfort me. It doesn't provide me with emotion, other than what I conjure up for myself. Oftentimes, those emotions are negative. A lot of fear, a lot of greed, a lot of anxiety. That's what money does for a lot of people and those aren't positive things. I think what we should begin to do is see money as an inanimate object instead of as a person. What I mean by that is when we think about money, we think about our assets, we think about insurance plans, we think about homes. What we're really doing is looking at tools that we have used or are using or will use to build a future. That's what we're doing. I think that's the way we should look at it: when we look at it as asset and liability sheet we should look at it. 

 

For example, we're going to Lowe's, and we're seeing all these tools hanging on the wall. We're wondering what are we going to do with these tools because we've acquired them. It's like we went to Lowe's and we got them, we put them in our shed now what are we going to build with them? If we're looking at these assets to comfort us, it's not really going to work. For instance, you know people could say well I don't like the market, so I went to the banks and the banks make me feel better. Yeah, they make you feel better until you realize that some things happen there too. We've had a banking crisis in the late 80s, we had a banking crisis 2007-2008, we've had banks really misbehave over the last five years. It's not a perfect scenario. It's not a safe place to be. There is always a risk, it's just a different type of risk. 

Then the other side of that, the investment market, you know we've had a tremendous run since 2009, just a tremendous run, and everyone all of a sudden is scared of the market, like it's evil that you have to run away from. It's just part of the game, it’s just part of what how it works, you know? Things go up, things go down. Its financial gravity- what goes up must come down. What goes down will go back up and that's just the way it works. If it doesn't work that way, if the market stops working that way, we're not talking about, by the way, when we talk about the market, we're not talking about something ethereal. We're talking about real companies. We're talking about real companies with real employees who make real prop products and provide real services. If all of a sudden all these companies lose their value, in other words, they can't pay their employees because no one wants their services, no one wants the products, in the middle of a pandemic that lasts and lasts and lasts, well then we have more problems than our 401k. 

 

So, the problem that we have going on with this is that anything that's happening right now, we tend to think it's going to happen forever. If it's really good, it's always going to be really good. If it's really bad, it's always going to be really bad. We just can't see enough of the future to make ourselves act in a way that's fiduciary for ourselves to have our own best interests at heart, so I'm suggesting that we put our faith and confidence not in the assets, but in the purpose or mission of what we see our lives to be all about. Knowing that if we make decisions that fulfill that mission and purpose, whether it's we're early in our careers and we're trying to build one, whether we're in mid-career and we're just trying to maintain one or trying to trying to capitalize on one, or if we're coming to the end of a career and we are going to transition out of one, the purpose of the mission is what it's all about. Because that's where we say what we made these decisions. Because this is how we believe we should live our life, and regardless of what the external variables have done, no matter how they changed, we have made decisions that made us true to ourselves and that should be the comfort. That should be the peace of mind that we're looking for. 

"I'm suggesting that we put our faith and confidence not in the assets, but in the purpose or mission of what we see our lives to be all about."

Let's not look for it in an object. Let's look for it within the fact that we're making decisions that reflect who we are and what we believe, and that's the best way to live a life. That should give you really any comfort that you need when times are tough. 

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