Mind OVER Money: Understanding personal responsibility in the sobering light of our own humanity

No other human being is going to care about your future and your plans as much as you do.

To put it another way, YOU have been given charge of your talents and no one but you will be expected to give a return for them.

There are few reasons more powerful to me personally for becoming an investment advisor than preventing a client from performing less than the market is returning. I’m reminded of this over and over with new clients who are entering or in their retirement years.

A few years ago I was reintroduced to a client couple whose retirement plan was going great prior to the 2008 market crash. Leaving out the painful personal details, this couple entered 2008 with nearly $750,000 in two variable annuities and were each able to take $2000 per month as income. With these percentages, this couple should never have had to worry about outliving their money and should have been able to leave a nice sum for their children afterwards. These were, in fact, their two main goals.

Instead, they came to me in the middle of 2011 with a total of $120,000 remaining in both accounts and an expected time frame of less than five years for the money to last at current income amounts. It was no small effort to get the monthly living expenses down so that the income could be reduced to $1000 per month, which is still a bit higher than we’d like to see based on this balance, but certainly a pathway that would last much longer than the one they were on.

Thankfully, this is the most severe situation that I have personally been involved with. But just as with many investors today who are dealing with less-than-potential results, this situation was preventable. With a small proactive adjustment to their income in 2008 as well as a portfolio less weighted toward equities, these folks would still have had a rising investment balance today.

Don’t leave the suitcase of your future plans in the hands of someone who has neither the ability nor the desire to deliver it back to you in better shape than you left it.

I reiterate – For the Seasoned Investor there is no luck required, but you do need to take responsibility for your own suitcase. Take the necessary next step on Oct 22.


See you at Mind OVER Money,


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