Question: I am in sales related to the oil and gas industry and I am frankly worried about how this next year will play out for me. How do I set positive goals in light of these negative circumstances?
Answer: Preparation can always be procrastinated. Consequences cannot.
Whenever disaster strikes, whether natural or man-made, you can count on wagging fingers and tongues to find a convenient camera or microphone, decrying the lack of preparation. Somebody shoulda done something! The media usually falls in line with this narrative of shocked remorse, until something else demands its attention. Then all that preparation stuff is forgotten until the next time.
Economies cycle. Jobs get innovated out of existence. Financial markets gyrate. Hot water tanks burst. Cancer happens. Sometimes people even die. Eventually we all do.
That all of the above occurs is a surprise to no one. But when any of the above occurs it always seems to elicit a response like, “How could this happen!?”
OK, let’s admit it. Whether you believe in evolution or not, somewhere deep in our DNA, most of us can find an ostrich with a proclivity to bury his head in the sand, ignoring today’s (and tomorrow’s) problems as long as possible.
So let’s first look at the ideal (what you should have done), figure out where you are and suggest a course of action.
Most financial plans start with the ideal end in mind. We want some level of financial independence, so we begin doing the things necessary to get there – assuming all goes according to plan.
But life doesn’t work that way, does it? We encounter problems, catastrophes, illnesses, setbacks, bad choices, job loses…it’s a long list. And because the list is so long, it can seem overwhelming, impossible and hopeless. So why not just bury my head in the sand and hope for the best?
And of course we all know that approach works just fine until it doesn’t. Just as I was writing this column, I received an email about a tragic automobile accident that took the life of a young husband and father.
That’s why beginning with the ideal end in mind is the wrong place to start a financial plan. Precisely because we know things are going to go wrong, or at least not as planned, we must prepare – well ahead of time – for both the best and worst case scenarios, and everything in between.
Yes, the list is long of things that can go wrong.
Looks like I’m about out of space, so next week allow me to break this down into just a few areas that you can handle.
If you’ll commit to make these the foundation of your financial plan, you’ll be as prepared at you can reasonably be to handle the unexpected problems that come your way.
Byron R. Moore, CFP® is managing director / planning group of Argent Advisors, Inc. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Write to him at 500 East Reynolds Drive, Ruston, LA 71270 or call him at (318) 251-5858. The opinions of any single advisor do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Argent Advisors, Inc.No forecasts can be guaranteed. Argent Advisors, Inc. does not offer tax, insurance or legal advice. The information contained in this column should not be construed as a substitute for personalized investment, tax, insurance or legal advice.