What Keeps You Up At Night? Mind your Ps and get some Zzzs.

If your personal finances keep you up at night, you’re not alone. Bankrate research conducted in 2018 reported that seven in 10 Americans have occasional sleepless nights due to worry. Concern over money was a concern for more than a third of worriers.  By the way, the number one cause of worry (41%) was relationships. The phone calls we received over that last year corroborate those findings. We fielded calls and emails asking:

  • Will the deep state bring down our country?
  • Will Congress ever work together for a common good again?
  • Will changing social values and norms weaken families?
  • Will rising debt, foreign crises and world economics erode our financial markets—and with them, our financial security?

Few (if any) of the questions were rooted in hope for the future. Instead, most of the questions were incited by a steady stream of sensationalized headlines meant to breed fear. We realized that the questions weren’t truly about the deep state and global market meltdowns. The underlying question was this: “How can I deal with the anxiety I’m feeling about the future?” Now that’s a million dollar question. It’s a question that can keep you up at night if your planning isn’t built with the three Ps: proper Perspective, established Process and enduring Principles.

A good night’s sleep is possible if your plans are built with the three Ps. The proper perspective begins with a long-term view. The longer the perspective, the better the decisions you make now, and the better the outcomes you experience in the future. This requires making smaller, manageable decisions that can have greater impact tomorrow. Simple things, like the small changes we can make to improve our health and wellbeing: watching less TV, walking more, gathering around a table to eat family meals, choosing smaller portions. In a similar way, you can determine a diversified asset allocation to manage risk and return over time so that the daily news no longer interprets how you’re doing financially. You have a greater purpose!

Put in place a process that ensures regular evaluation and recalibration to achieve your desired outcomes with a high probability. This builds confidence and focus over time.

Finally, hold fast to principles that guide you and refuse to be married to methods, products, or politics which can be positioned as the solution or the problem.

Instead of wringing your hands over news often created to cause anxiety and alarm, consider exercising wisdom that challenges us to set our minds on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, lovely and whatever is admirable” (Philippians 4:8).

Should you set your mind on something like Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, be reminded that we cannot dictate nor control world events. But we’re not left powerless, either. As Gandalf says to his protégé, Frodo, “… all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Spend your time doing what you can control, establishing a proper perspective (longer term), putting in place an effective process (consistent, understood and proven), orienting to tested principles (focus) to help you achieve your desired outcomes. Mind your Ps, and you’ll get more than just Zzzs. You just might experience greater peace during your waking hours as well.

Highland Consulting Associates, Inc. (Highland) has over 25 years providing family and financial advice in the best interest of our clients and our clients only. We have been independent investment advisors since 1993.

Highland is a registered investment adviser. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.

Randy Fairfax, CFP