Have you ever found yourself watching a scary movie, and as the plot progresses, you start telling the characters, “No, no, no…” because you know what is going to happen next? These movies typically prey on our greatest fears. Alfred Hitchcock, the director of many classics including “Psycho” and “The Birds,” experienced much success due to his use of suspense, simply feeling anxious due to uncertainty about what may happen.
Our day-to-day fears are often not dominated by scary places or creepy, crawly things, but by financial uncertainty. It’s fitting that October is National Financial Planning month. One of our key roles as advisors is to alert you to the risks and potential threats to your financial security and provide an action plan to address them. Just as there are certain dangers to avoid in a scary movie, there are key actions one can take to provide financial assurance.
Fear of unexpected expenses – create an emergency fund. Life is full of plot twists, often with a dollar-figure attached. Creating a cash cushion of at least 3-6 months of your living expenses helps put you on the path towards peace of mind.
Fear of insufficient retirement savings – take advantage of any retirement plan match offered by your employer. Employee matching is free money! If you are worried about saving enough for retirement, this is an easy way to get a nice boost.
Fear of catastrophic stock market losses – avoid concentrated stock positions. It is a common saying – “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” A diversified investment portfolio minimizes this risk.
Fear of our own death – execute Estate documents. Avoiding our mortality does not alleviate the pain associated with premature death or disability. Creating a plan for these events provides reassurance not only for you but also for your family.
Fear of the unknown – create a plan. Benjamin Franklin famously said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” As stated above, so much of our fear centers around uncertainty: unexpected expenses, insufficient retirement savings, market volatility, and many more. Understanding your objectives, and how each financial decision impacts your goals, is essential in providing clarity. Planning allows you to address your financial fears proactively.
A well-known Chinese proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second-best time is now.” Do not let inaction continue to breed fear. Begin tackling financial uncertainty today.
*The author of this post does not recommend watching scary movies. She proactively avoids them.
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