“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
– Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
As I have been thinking about the many conversations I have with clients over the past many weeks, I keep finding myself thinking of this Charles Dicken’s quote. I find it amazing that these words, written in 1859, are so relevant to our lives today and specifically to the financial planning and investment management decisions we all must make.
I believe one of the greatest challenges for any of us to overcome is that our “reality” is not everyone’s “reality”. Our perspective, coupled with individual facts and circumstances, go a long way to dictate what our reality is. When it comes to providing financial advice during times of uncertainty, it is important to remain flexible in our thinking and fully understand each client’s “reality” before offering advice.
This period of uncertainty offers both unusual opportunity and increased risk. Where you are in your financial journey will be a key determining factor in determining if now is a time for you to try to be opportunistic and take advantage of long term opportunities, or, be cautious and guard against the shorter-term volatility risks that exist today.
If you have decades before you will need to rely on your investments to help supplement your retirement cash flow needs, then today is quite possibly a period of significant opportunity for you. Implementing a consistent systematic investment process now will most likely prove to be a sound financial decision when you look back years from now. On the other hand, if you are approaching retirement or have recently retired, there is a good chance that preserving principal is more important than taking on (or continuing to hold) too much risk (read stocks and stock based mutual funds) in your portfolio.
Part of the value we bring to your planning engagements is to help you better understand where you are on your journey and whether the uncertainty that exists today represents more of a risk or an opportunity to you. We are available to help you talk through your goals and discuss your current circumstance. We can meet over the phone, virtually (through a web meeting) or in person, depending on your needs and preferences.