By Tom Breiter - Integra Capital Advisors
Recently I was invited to play golf at Isleworth Country Club in the Orlando area, about a two hour drive from my home in Bradenton, Florida. I knew to allow some extra time to navigate the always heavy traffic on I-4 between Tampa and Orlando. Sure enough, I ran into a major slowdown, but not where I expected.
As traffic slowed to a crawl for no apparent reason for all three lanes, I worked on maintaining my patience knowing I had allowed for such an event. After about 20 minutes, the reason for the slowdown in my eastbound lanes became apparent. A bad accident had occurred in the westbound lanes and, although there was no impact or blockage in my direction, my fellow eastbound drivers felt compelled to do the human thing, slow down to “rubberneck” at the scene, complete with rescue vehicles and tow-trucks.
Immediately after passing the accident, traffic resumed to normal highway speeds. I was struck by the parallels of this situation to the process we work on with our clients every day; a dedicated focus on pursuing personal financial and life objectives. The conclusion being that it is easy to lose focus on our goals as life happens around us.
It is worth reminding ourselves of the need to focus on the things in life that are important to us, that we have at least some level of control over. At Integra Capital Advisors, we use a well-defined process call the Waypoint FORMula to make sure we understand what matters to our clients, the things we can affect the outcome of and focus our efforts on those things.
We will all experience inevitable distractions from our pursuit of long-term objectives, just like traffic accidents on the other side of the highway slowing traffic on our side to a crawl. Maintaining focus on where we want to go and what we want achieve is important in getting past the distractions that come our way. How can we best implement such a plan?
Review and Re-Focus
“Out of sight – out of mind” is a real thing. Proactively reviewing your financial plan with your advisor at least once a year to check progress and make adjustments is a great idea. Planning always includes assumptions that are likely not to work out exactly as originally envisioned. Small course corrections once or twice a year can make a big difference compared to trying to make large changes when time is running short for retirement or the dates that you hope to achieve other goals by.
I think we all dream of achieving the more outrageous financial goals in life. Private jets, a Caribbean island, a Bentley in the garage are all nice thoughts and I’m a big believer in setting “stretch” goals to push ourselves to succeed. But, setting unachievable goals may have the opposite effect by creating frustration and a feeling of failure when it becomes obvious these luxury objectives are out of reach. Set our sights high, but at a level where success is within reach. After all, you can always set your sights higher after realizing your initial objectives.
It’s Not Just About Money
At Integra Capital Advisors, we have the word “FORM” embedded in our Waypoint FORMula process. “F” is for Family, the relatives and close friends that are important in our lives. “O” stands for occupation, the activities of employment, service or volunteerism that we use to fill our days and make us feel of value to our family and community. “R” is for recreation, the activities we pursue for enjoyment like travel, exercise, dinner with friends, etc. These first three are the “Why” of our lives. “M” is for Money. We call money the “How”. It supports all of the first three factors, which are the truly important things in our lives.
Take time to make sure your focus on the pure financial success factors is in full support of your more important life objectives related to family, occupation and recreation.
Along the way you will find you experience some life events which act like traffic accidents to distract and slow down your progress to your destination. This is natural, but a dedicated focus to get you back up to speed will make these slowdowns fade into the rearview mirror.
If you have questions or need a second opinion about your financial planning needs, call us at 941-778-1900 or click here to complete our contact form. We work primarily with clients who desire our personal, yet structured process for planning and investing that relieves them of the day-to-day worry of the financial markets with freedom to pursue what they value most and allows them to feel confident and reassured. We call this process the “Waypoint Formula”.