May 6, 2020
Let’s face it, change is hard! And how true is that for how many of us are feeling these days? Under normal circumstances many people have a difficult time incorporating new habits into their routine or trying a different approach to something that may impact their life, but over the past several weeks the face of change has felt comparable to a freight train coming at us with full speed. We have had only a short time to pivot or jump out of the way so we are not hit head on, and it has been an unsettling feeling.
Isn’t it a terrible thing to be talking about comparing life to living in the path of a train? I am very much looking forward to some sort of normalization as the pandemic (hopefully, eventually) begins to wind down. Having said that, I think we are in this new normal for a long while yet. And there is just so much change everywhere. It’s not only about having to stay home, it’s the way we work, the way we shop, the way we educate our children, the way we interact with people. I see friends having happy hours through Zoom or playing popular games online to pass the time. It is all so different. I miss my family, my friends, and my clients.
As you may recall, I am an avid reader. I’m partial to historical fiction, but I also enjoy reading a good memoir, personal development books, and literature on topics relating to what my vocation is. Lately I read more of the latter to keep up on trends and things that seem to change daily in the business world. I also talk to many people about these trends and it’s times such as what we are living in now when I think we begin to focus more on value. We ask ourselves questions such as: How have our goals changed? What do we value most? Is this something I can live without? Am I realizing value for what I am paying for? If we are honest with ourselves, we know at the end of this analysis our homework is going to require doing something that will likely affect more change in our lives.
I had a meeting last week and someone asked me if I ever had to change physicians. Of course, I have, as many others have, and it was one of the most difficult things I had to do. Quite frankly, it was a huge pain because I was starting over with someone new and that unsettled me since I had not yet built a relationship with my new doctor and had no idea if I would even like them. Sometimes these things work out and sometimes they don’t, but if it doesn’t there is no reason why you shouldn’t seek out another option. If we are not feeling well or have a problem, we certainly want to get it resolved so we can live a long and healthy life.
Your financial life is no different from your physical life – both should be healthy, well-balanced, and providing a sense of satisfaction and security. The same person I was speaking with above told me they never had to change financial advisors before, but here they were. The analogy between a physician and an advisor is parallel because your advisor is your physician for your financial life. And while life is complicated right now, and you may feel like you cannot handle one more change, I would implore you to ask yourself this question: if you didn’t feel good physically and your doctor said you were fine, would you seek out a second opinion if you still had concern? Now ask yourself the same question for your financial life and goals: if you are unsure or unhappy about the advice or information you were given, would you stay in that arrangement or try to find someone who can better help you?
We live in a world of choice and I do not take that lightly. It is not lost on me that my client relationships are valuable and during times like this my clients rely on me more than ever. It is choice and free will, after all, that is the driving force behind our free market economy. Uncertainly can be a catalyst for deep-seeded fear, and the people who have trusted me with their wealth management needs look for assurance that their plans can weather what may feel like a storm. Looking in a different direction can be scary and overwhelming, but being on a path that makes you feel better usually puts things in a much brighter light. Do not settle for something that you don’t feel brings you real value. Remember the power you have in the ability to make choices. Be comfortable with the guidance you are being given and be sure to understand your plan.
I will never get used to seeing people only from a distance. I am not quite sure if I could get used to teaching my children at home alongside their teachers. For the record, every single educator in the world deserves a raise as far as I am concerned! I could easily get used to Instacart for my shopping needs because I don’t love standing in lines at the grocery store. Life is constantly evolving and I doubt this will be the last time in my lifetime where a major event occurs that impacts the business of living. No matter what facet of your life you happen to be evaluating, remember your power of choice and do not be afraid to embrace change.
Iris Buczkowski is the founder of Birch Wealth Management (birchwealth.com). Original content provided by Iris is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice.