I had planned on writing a “Year in Review” column for you this week, but it turns out that would be impossible. The way 2018 has gone, something could happen in the next 24 hours – or two weeks – that would render my ruminations obsolete.
I don’t want to lay all the blame on this year’s tumultuous events. After all, topics like market volatility, trade talks, taxes, and who won the mid-term elections could sound a bit like … 2014. Or 1994. Or, as the great broadcaster Paul Harvey says, “In times like these, it’s helpful to remember that there have always been times like these.”
At least part of this current climate’s edginess rests with us. We’re the ones living from phone notification to phone notification. We get a constant, 24-7 ticker of updates about everything from cryptocurrency to our fantasy team. The financial news stations post red and green boxes in the corner of the screen – but sometimes, they’ll flicker from red to green minute by minute, and day to day.
Let alone year to year.
So, instead of a year in review, let me impart a bit of advice that may sound counterintuitive to smartphones and our “News Now!” Culture:
Create a financial plan that doesn’t require you checking on the markets every few minutes.
Find a financial professional you can trust – likely a fiduciary – and build a comprehensive financial plan, incorporating your goals and your tolerance for risk. Consider the legacy you want to leave, taking into account tax implications and strategy. And then update your plan as you change.
I may be stretching the bounds of decorum by suggesting in a news publication that maybe what we need is less news. But I can tell you that worshipping a ticker or a green box won’t help your financial plan be more or less effective.
And with some new-found time on your hands, you might find a few moments to spend with family or your beloved critter barking outside.
Let 2019 be the year you are proactive about your portfolio, who you are and where you’d like to go. A plan might be the peace of mind you were missing in 2018.