Let’s Make the Tough Decisions

Money Matters (July 2016)

By Chuck Dudley



Difficult DecisionsRecently, I attended the Mass Mutual Leaders Conference.

The agent of the year was a man named Steve Dark from Southern California. He made a very nice speech, and one thing he said struck home with me.

He said: “Today, let’s help people make the tough decisions”.

The older we get, the tougher the decisions seem to be.

Retirement options.

Making our money last in case we live too long.

Do we help our children get out from under the increasingly burdensome college debt? (depending on where you are, $25,000 to $50,000)

Aging parents living needs.

Post retirement health care.

Attempting to find a happy lifestyle in a world that seems to be turning upside down every day.

And that’s just some of them.


Sometimes there appears to be no hope. But there is hope if you want to find it.

In August, I will begin my 39th year in the financial services profession. From 21% 90 day Treasury Bills to a tenth of a percent return, I guess I’ve seen it all!

Markets change, politics change, the world changes.

But one thing that doesn’t have to change is your attitude.

If you want things to be better, then you can will your mind to find ways to improve your situation, and………….your attitude.

It’s a common trait of successful people, finding the positive things. Having a plan, and executing that plan. Not settling for the status quo. And especially understanding that the decisions you make when you are young will greatly affect the quality of your life as you get older. Both good and bad decisions.


First, having a long term view of things is wise.

Second, act today. Don’t procrastinate. You’ll put things off until they are out of your mind.

Third, it’s becoming more and more apparent, especially with this extended low interest rate environment, one has to start saving, planning, working towards your retirement years in your 20’s. If interest rates were at traditional levels, then the power of compounding would be helpful. It’s hard to compound at 1% a year when inflation increases at higher rates than that each year.

Fourth, find a professional that has your best interest in mind. When you need advice on your health, your home, and other important decisions, you usually consult a professional that can help you navigate through the issues. It’s the same with your finances. Please…..don’t take investment advice from TV talking heads and TV advertisements from celebrity endorsers. One size does not fit everyone.

Fifth, you might have to forgo some creature comforts and some of those vacations everyone else is taking. My Dad always said, “it only takes a little more to go first class!” We both agreed a couple of weeks ago that is no longer the case. Maybe you take one big trip a year, and a few small ones to places in your state you wanted to visit.

Sixth, college is becoming an elitist endeavor. The cost of college, including fees, charges, tuition, room and board, athletics fees and the like has skyrocketed. The inflation of college costs has far surpassed savings rates, and savings returns. Maybe you can’t go to Dad’s alma mater. Maybe you should start your kids at a community college to get the basics down, and keep the costs down. Or, you can send them to a 4 year school and go into debt way beyond any ever expected.

Seventh, college debt is causing a lot of middle class and millennial pain. Starting out with $25,000 in debt means you can’t buy a home, maybe not the car you want, you can’t begin to invest and save for the present, much less the future. Something has to give here.

Eighth, from my recent experience, Assisted Living planning may be more important than Long Term Care. Assisted Living facilities are nicer and provide quality of life options. It appears to me, at least, this is where a majority of us will end up.

Ninth, and most importantly, YOU can control your attitude and your future financial planning.


If you really want to make sure you have right ideas for moving forward in a positive manner, we will listen. We’ve been able to help families and businesses learn to use money wisely, and we’d like to help you too. We would be honored to visit with you about how to help you and your business. My number is 501-318-0010, or you can send me an email at cdudley@argentfinancial.com.

An hour of your time spent analyzing your situation might make a lifetime of difference

Arkansas Insurance Producer # 1005698

That’s all for this month! If you’ve enjoyed what you read, please share Money Matters with a friend, family member or loved one.


Chuck Dudley



Argent Financial Group

Argent Financial Group (Argent) is a leading, independent, fiduciary wealth management firm. Responsible for more than $30 billion in client assets, Argent provides individuals, families, businesses and institutions with a broad range of wealth management services, including trust and estate administration, investment management, ESOPs, retirement plan consulting, funeral and cemetery trusts, charitable organization administration, oil and gas (mineral) management and other unique financial services. Headquartered in Ruston, Louisiana, Argent was formed in 1990 and traces its roots back to 1930.

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