Over the years I often receive questions from people who want my “great insight” about investing and financial matters. When someone finds out that I work in wealth management, they usually ask for my best “hot tip” – and to that I want to reply,
“A hot tip is at the end of a match and that’s
just going to burn your finger!”
I have seen a lot of people get distracted by trying to earn some quick money. But there are some tried and true principles that I have learned over time.
A number of years ago I started to notice something unexpected about the outcomes of the clients I was working with. I could compare two different individuals or couples on paper, and they might appear very similar. Similar incomes, net worth, and account balances.
But over years of meeting with these folks, I noticed that some of them seemed to be filled with more joy, they had contentment in life, and were doing things that made them smile. They just seemed to be in a great spot. And the others – who really appeared to be very much like their happier counterparts – for some reason just did not seem to get to that good spot. Maybe they weren’t able to retire the way they wanted to, maybe they didn’t have the security they wanted. Or maybe they did get to their goal – let’s say of retiring – and just didn’t seem to enjoy it very much.
I started wondering what caused this different outcome between two people who started out with so much in common. And what I discovered was this:
The ones who got to that good place - when they accomplished their goal and were able to experience joy in the journey had some important things in common.
The big one I noticed is that the group that had contentment and fulfillment in their lives knew very clearly what was important to them. The things they valued most were unique to them as individuals – perhaps family, community, faith, friends, or charities. But they could clearly articulate what they valued most in life, and it generally had to do with the people and relationships that were most important to them.
I would challenge you to change your focus when making financial and investment decisions. Yes – the investments are important – and you want to choose them wisely, but don’t start there. Start by asking yourself this question – “What is most important to me and why?” If you can define that for yourself, you are setting the parameters for the reason why you should invest. And when you know why you’re doing something it keeps you more focused on staying the course and practicing sound financial habits in every area of your life. You will be aligning your financial decisions with the things that are most important to you.
My hot investment tip today – take the time to answer this question – “What’s most important to you and why?”