Our internal metronomes resonate within the higher frequencies of global communications, technological innovation, faster sales “turnover,” daily commuting, and a never-ending series of chores we must finish before sundown. The pace robs us of our chance to reflect upon the choices we must make and limits us to a range of two: “yes or no,” “right or wrong,” “good or bad,” “win or lose.” The rapid pace polarizes us as we slide into one or another of two camps that spring up instantly on every issue, public and private. There’s not enough time for “maybe,” “I’ll decide later,” or “do you have a better idea?” The pace of our daily lives has led a few of us to require a mechanical pacemaker in order to maintain an acceptable heartbeat. Others recognize the accelerating shrinkage of time in their daily lives, and consciously make time to consider some third, acceptable option when making their decisions. Making time to choose among at least three options can even out our rhythm and make room for wisdom to work in our lives. The beat goes on, but at a human frequency. It’s worth a try, don’t you think (circle “yes,” “no,” or “I’ll give you my answer before noon tomorrow”)?
The only two items in clear focus on the photo above are the conductor and the score. With those in place there can be harmony among the nine performers. In this particular scene the original music was written 330 years ago; a good composition lasts across generations of singers and listeners. With training and a little rehearsal, all nine performers can sing with confidence… and joy. The process applies equally well to the way we choose to live the rest of our lives. With an evolving financial plan, an experienced financial advisor, and maybe a coordinated team of trained financial professionals, you and your family for generations to come can follow with confidence the harmony you arrange, rehearse, and enjoy as your own financial composition. This is a learning experience. And it is a living experience. Try it… you’ll like it.
One of England’s grand houses that served as a hospice for wounded troops in the Great War has an oak-paneled library where one of the panels is speckled with small holes drilled by stray darts hurled wide of a dartboard. The statistical chance of hitting the bullseye on that wall was greatly reduced by whatever caused so many stray throws… like the distance, the light, and the condition of the players. A statistical bell curve can be built that represents variance from the averaged throws. Within the central one-third of the bell curve, where most of the “hits” are concentrated, the formula quantifies the deviation from the performance mean for 67% of total hits below the curve… the Standard Deviation. It is common practice to base our judgements upon the central third of all the scores, and treat the rest (in this case, the holes in the wall) as less-informative, or even insignificant, outliers. The formula for determining Standard Deviation can also be applied to describe the range of performance volatility arising from your particular mix of stocks, bonds, and cash; it can provide insight concerning the extent of your market risk. From another perspective, if you can pinpoint your tolerance for market risk, you can use Standard Deviation as a guide for assembling assets in your portfolio. An experienced advisor can help you do that without leaving any tiny holes in your wall.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” sounds like an excuse not to make a plan, especially when we can now obtain a FasTrak toll tag before setting out on a trip. Before bridges we had to go with the flow of a river or a canal to connect events in our lives. Our roads and railroads need bridges. Bridges can make an island part of a city. Bridges are both connections and hindrances. Bridges are indispensable to travel and a challenge at rush hours. There are other “bridges” in our lives: getting through college, marriage, making a home, changing careers, reaching retirement, and leaving this world for whatever comes next. There are no FasTrak toll tags for these bridges, other than inviting someone who knows a lot about bridges to help us with our plans to get through them… and to pay the tolls along the way. An experienced financial planner can brighten prospects and smooth the journey.
If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you have arrived? The trip could be over when you run out of fuel… or when your money runs out. It might last longer and be more fun if you were to do more planning before you leave. There are basic questions: what to pack, what kind of food is available, can you speak the language, what help is available if something goes wrong. What if you make your trip last a lifetime? It would be smart to talk with someone who has been there and done that, don’t you think? In any event, all best wishes for a safe and fulfilling journey, especially if safe and fulfilling are your goals.
PS: We’re talking about your life here… engage a wise financial advisor and the sky’s the limit.