How Your Behavior can Affect Your Investment Decisions
As human beings, we can often react to events or experiences in an instinctual rather than logical or practical way. It is in our very nature and can, in many cases, not be avoided.| By: Randall E. White, CFP®, RICP®, CRPC®, CMFC®
When you see someone else who appears successful what do you imagine he or she does, has, finds fulfilling? Do you equate success with happiness?
We don’t often ask ourselves these types of questions. But taking a moment to consider your definition of success could help you find personal fulfillment alongside financial well-being. We can only measure our success (as well as others’ success) by how we define it. This definition is likely unique to each of us. This uniqueness is one of the key components to understanding how you might go about achieving your goals when it comes to planning for your future, financially, physically, emotionally and psychologically.
In this article, we identify five key factors that can help you define and build your own success plan.
The Important Things
It is critical to any solid plan with the objective of fiscal and personal fulfillment to begin by identifying what truly matters to you. Are there areas in your financial or personal life that cause you stress or continue to be a source of unhappiness or frustration for you? Perhaps it is because they are not really important to you so you begrudgingly execute them. Are their aspects of your life that make you feel invigorated and fulfilled? These are likely something to take into consideration when you are making your “what matters” list.
Writing down what matters and what doesn’t can help you take a bird’s eye view of your life, your lifestyle and your relationships and, perhaps, help you begin to take the steps towards feeling successful and satisfied with the path you are on in your life.
Success is about more than just making money and satisfying your expenses, savings, investments and leisure time. Success, for most of us, fosters a sense of peace-of-mind and contentedness. Before you begin setting goals it is important to begin with a foundation of what is important to you and your family.
Playing the Long Game
We have all heard the cliché “life’s a journey, not a destination”. Though overused, this quote is right on the money (no pun intended). When you are considering your plan for success you must not just think about moving from point A to point B but, rather, looking at a path with several trail markers letting you know you’re still on the right track, but not knowing for certain exactly where you’ll end up.
Each trail marker is a milestone—an achievement—which, in a long game can help you feel good about the process and the progress you are making along the way.
Identify Weaknesses and Threats
If you’ve ever played chess and lost it is likely because you weren’t able to see the threats and weaknesses of your strategy. Your opponent took advantage of your vulnerabilities and voila, Checkmate! Like chess, success planning requires you to identify obstacles in advance and to find solutions to get through, over, under or around them. By doing this you can begin to look at each obstacle as a challenge as well as an opportunity to find more efficient and effective ways of achieving your objectives.
As human beings, we are hardwired to take the path of least resistance and also to have instant gratification. When it comes to financial planning however it is critical to look beyond the next few moves. This type of “plan now, act later” mentality can sometimes be difficult to stick to.
Many of our clients find this step in the process particularly difficult as some of the challenges they might face are unknown to them. For example, if you want to make a large purchase, like a boat or a home, and you think you should use some of your retirement savings to fund it instead of liquidating stocks or using cash if you have it. Making the wrong choice for your particular situation can have major tax implications. There are several contributing factors that influence the right choice for a particular situation. We help our clients gain an understanding of their choices and trade-offs, and find the most direct and most applicable path to the goal they are trying to achieve.
Don’t Keep Up with the Jones’s
The grass may seem greener, but the only closed doors you are ever actually behind are your own, so put your focus there and not next door. Satisfying your short-term wants and finding gratification in the shiniest new “thing” is one of the most destructive ways of diverting from your long-term path.
Having a budget and sticking to it is important no matter how much money you make or have saved. Living within your means, regardless of what they are is paramount to achieving financial independence and personal well-being.
Invest for Success
There is definitely a right and wrong way to invest your money in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, REITs, etc. Listening to morning pundits tout the latest stock picks, taking your money in and out of the market when there is volatility and not allocating your money based on a risk assessment and tolerance analysis are just a few ways that you can make costly investing mistakes. Here is what we know to be true when it comes to a sound investing strategy.
- Patience, time and commitment are required for a sound investment plan
- Investing is not a get rich quick scheme
- Diversification has a direct impact on performance and is, therefore, paramount to investing wisely
- Taking risks are inherent in investing. The only way to grow your portfolio over time is to assume some degree of risk. This amount is highly dependent on age, income and individual risk tolerance.
- Tuning out the noise of the media will help you find clarity in your investment decisions.
- Markets work because together we know more than we do all by ourselves.
In the last century, markets both domestic and global have had a history of handsomely rewarding investors for the capital they supply. Market economies foster competition between companies vying for capital and between investors in search of better returns. This competition for capital drives prices to fair market value and so it goes.
Utilizing low-cost investments across a global mix of asset classes to create a diversified portfolio engineered to provide long-term returns and reasonable down-side protection is what we believe a prudent investment philosophy should be. It is here where a fiduciary can help you stay on track with your financial goals and find that peace of mind and feeling of personal success.
Wanting to achieve financial success is universal. It cuts across all cultures and borders, but for each of us, what success stands for is different and the manner by which we achieve our definition of success is completely unique. Identifying what matters, looking at the big picture, knowing your strengths and weaknesses, living within your means and investing prudently are five key steps on the path to success. We hope this has helped you to create an outline for your own success plan.
At TriCapital Wealth Management we specialize in helping individuals and their families build their long-term wealth plan and setting them on the path to achievement. Please let us know how we can help you write your personal success story.
Disclosure text: Securities offered through Triad Advisors, LLC, member FINRA/SPIC. Advisory services offered through TriCapital Wealth Management, Inc. TriCapital Wealth Management, Inc. is not affiliated with Triad Advisors, LLC.