A New Year, A New Resolution (or Five!)

2015 New Year's Resolutions

As the current year comes to a close, you might be scrambling to find the perfect New Year’s resolution that you’re FINALLY going to keep. This year we thought we’d do our part and suggest five resolutions for the New Year.

We asked some of our advisors to suggest a New Year’s resolution that they would recommend to a client. The results are in.

Make Budgeting a Priority

“Sign up for an online budgeting service like Mint.com or Quicken to help make sure that your spending is aligned with your financial values.” – Bob Witt, CFP®

 

Bob is in the middle of building a new family home for himself, his wife and their two sets of twins. During its construction, he has been faced with many decisions surrounding cabinet finishes, paint colors and landscaping. Because each of these finishings comes with a price tag (some higher than others) it’s important to remember during this process and into the New Year, to prioritize his spending where appropriate and invest the extra funds.

When faced with these decisions, Bob keeps the following quote from James W. Frick top of mind, “Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.” He challenges you to do the same; if you say it is important to donate to charity or save money for retirement, make sure that your budget and expenses reflect your commitment.

Get Involved

“Find a hobby, charitable cause or interest that gives your life meaning that you can devote more of your time towards in retirement.” – Pete Doyle, CPA/PFS, CFP®

Pete, an avid golfer, took advantage of one of the last warm weekends to play golf with a friend who had recently retired. During this round of golf, they got on the subject of retirement and discussed how his friend has found meaning in retirement. His friend approached retirement, not as “retiring from” his job but viewed it as “retiring to” other activities that were important to him such as volunteering for several charitable organizations, golf and travel.

When asked what resolution he would pass along to our clients, this conversation with his golfing friend came to mind. He challenges you to find a hobby, goal or interest that you can eventually “retire to.” Think about how you would like to fill your days during retirement. How do you picture your retirement?

Live in the Present

“Cross something off your bucket list that you have been putting off until ‘tomorrow.’ Plan for the future, but live in the present.” – Dave Huber, CFP®

Just like advisors coach their clients to have financial goals; advisors have financial goals of their own. Dave has come to the point in his career where he is ready to start accomplishing and enjoying his life-long goals. When talking to him about his resolution for clients, Dave said he would like to encourage you to follow his lead and finally do that one thing you’ve been putting off, like taking a family trip or purchasing a second home. Remember that our tomorrows are not guaranteed, so take action today. Plan for the future, but live in the present.

Sustainability is Key

“Avoid extremism and focus on things that are sustainable.” – Rob Morrison, CFP®

In a recent meeting, Rob and his clients were weighing two scenarios to approach retirement. His client was two to four years away from retirement depending on how he spent the “victory lap” of his final working years. The client could either take on a high power role in his current company, which included a significant pay increase that would allow him to retire in the next two years, or work as a part-time consultant for the same company for less pay. In the second scenario, he would need to work another four years to retire successfully.  For this client, Rob suggested, and the client agreed, that the better alternative was to choose the sustainable option of working in a lower stress part-time position for a couple of extra years.

This same logic can be applied in other areas of life. One example is dieting and exercise, a common New Year’s resolution for many. It may be easy to say that this year you will go to the gym every day and never eat bread, but that is an extremist approach and will be hard to maintain. If your health is a priority for you this year, come up with a resolution that is realistic and one that you can actually sustain throughout the year.

Don’t Run With the Herd

“Adopt a contrarian investing perspective, be greedy when others are fearful.”                                             –Edward Cruickshank

 

We cannot expect that all nations will adopt like systems, for conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” —John F. Kennedy

President Kennedy made these observations on conformity during a United Nations general assembly regarding recent geopolitical events. While it was intended for a political audience, its application to finance and investing is profound. In the investments world, conformity is the enemy of growth. It is when investors follow their instincts, listen to the media and fall victim to troublesome behavior biases that they start to experience investment woes.

Ed has seen this happen over the years with clients when they act irrationally in response to the media’s hype over the current political or economic environment by retreating to cash. Hindsight is 20/20 but had they remained invested in the market, these clients and their portfolios would have been better off. In these cases, listening to the media and succumbing to their investment fears was the ultimate enemy of their portfolio’s growth.

We hope that at least one of these New Year’s resolutions speaks to you and that you feel encouraged to take on the challenge. If you are compelled to do so, we would like to hear which resolution you plan to tackle this year in the comment section below. Throughout the year, if you cross off that bucket list item, find a new hobby or successfully stick to a budget plan, please share the details about your progress.

Happy New Year from your Huber family!

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