“Off The Wall” Blog
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Balance is a Myth
By David B. Armstrong, CFA | Aug 24, 2020 | Weekly Market Commentary
In pursuit of the perfect wealth plan, you want everything, well…perfect.
You want BALANCE.
The daily snapshot of the plan, the investment portfolio, the progress, the returns, the outcome, the pretty pie chart…you want it perfect.
But you see, that kind of daily balance is a myth.
Let me explain.
Consider money. We like to remind clients when we begin planning for the first time that money can really only go to one of four places:
- You can spend it during your lifetime up until death (or second to die for couples). This makes sense and is generally the primary purpose of money…to live off.
- You may choose to gift money to friends and/or family, either during life or after.
- You may choose to gift money to charity, again either during or after life.
- Depending on the current tax laws and the net worth of the estate at death or second to die, money may have to go to taxes.
The best part is that you can choose and plan for each of these four places.
So that’s it – that’s where money can go.
But as simple as that reads, it’s not something that can ever be perfect…because things are always changing.
People change their minds all the time.
Markets change, lifestyles change, gifting to charity changes, and family dynamics change over time as well.
And we all know the tax laws are always changing.
So life change is constant, like gravity – it’s always there, you can’t solve for it, and you have to plan around it. You have to acknowledge it.
There is no solution for “gravity.”
So, how can a plan balance when gravity can’t be ignored?
By adding “ing.”
Instead of having “a plan,” you do “planning.”
Static plans are sh*t, and they are typically delivered incidentally to sales activity. Static plans get created, printed, and delivered to get “the sale.” They are then ignored and start to rot the very next day.
In fact, wake up 18 months later and all the information, assumptions, and output are stale and rotting.
The good news is that while the daily balance is a myth, overall long-term balance is not – you just need to keep up with the planning.
The best thing to do is outline what the money is for and then map out the plan to make it work for you. Once you do that, you have to keep planning to account for and overcome the changes in life that are as constant as gravity.
We do this for clients through our Private Wealth Design process. We have a lot about it on our website or let me know if you want to have a one-on-one discussion.
Keep looking forward,
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David B. Armstrong, CFA
President & Co-Founder
Dave got into the industry when he discovered his passion for finance in his mid-20’s. He’s a combat veteran and served as an officer in the United States Marines Corps on both active duty and in the reserves, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. While serving on active duty, Dave was unable to spend money on deployments, so he became a self-taught investor. Along with a few bucks cash as a bouncer, his investing performance grew to be good....
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