All Dogs Don’t Bark Up The Right Tree
Christopher Koopman Contributor: PowerPassionProsperity
I was watching one of my dogs chase a chipmunk last week. He is fairly good at hunting and is very in tune with our property. Specifically, the wildlife that lives around our home. Often, I see deer, coyotes, fisher cats, bald eagles, hawks, falcons, bobcats, and the occasional mountain lion or bear. He does not seem to interest in any of those animals, but love chasing chipmunks. This day, he was chasing this chipmunk at full throttle, running all over, through the gardens, across the pasture and finally to an area that has many trees. He zoomed in on one tree, and was circling it, even attempting to climb it. He was certain that chipmunk was up that tree. As my dog Smokey was going bonkers over this tree, the little chipmunk appeared 7 trees away, running down the tree, and I swear he laughed on his way down! Smokey did not even notice this and was circling the tree he thought was correct for almost an hour. In that moment, nothing would change his focus. He was so focused on that single tree, that he did not even notice the chipmunk wave at him as he exited the other tree. Finally, he gave up. It was a bit discouraging to see his efforts fail. So confident that he chose the right tree, but, wrong. He was tracking that chipmunk closely, even nearly caught him 3 times before he went up that tree. How did Smokey fail?
Coincidentally, I notice similarities in finance as most people think about their financial world with a “choosing the right tree” mentality. What I mean by that is, most people have an extremely strict view on what is the correct path in wealth building and retirement planning. For some, even talking about financial matters becomes a topic that can be as passionate as religion or politics! People are so certain, that what they are doing financially is correct, they either tune out others, or get angry if someone discusses an alternative path to financial wellness. Who likes to feel wrong?!?! I often ask myself is this behavior of being “right” based on opinion of others, or verifiable evidence? Most people at some point will seek the help of an advisor or advisors to handle the many different aspects of their financial lives. Some may even take their financial matters in their own hands and implement strategies learned by reading books, magazines, or from entertainers who host financial radio shows. Either path chosen, this typically results in the box of planning for your future is now checked, the planning is complete, and life can go on.
One of my mentors used to talk about “The Arrival Syndrome”. This is a condition where a person stops learning, growing, and turns off the ability to receive inspiration because they already know all there is to know. Sound familiar? We all have experienced the “arrival syndrome” at some point in our lives. However, those who want to continuously achieve more in life, often conquer this syndrome and have major breakthroughs as a result. What could my dog have learned about the chipmunk? Perhaps, if he took a moment to sniff out the other trees, he would have received a different result. Yet, he too was suffering from the arrival syndrome.
Frequently when I discuss finances with my clients, they seem to have a case of the arrival syndrome because they have chosen the correct tree! At least they think they have. It is difficult to know if what you are doing financially to improve your current and future financial position is correct without looking up the other trees! Having an open mind to the fact that financial guidance is NOT one size fits all, and that there is NOT only one path you can take to reach financial excellence will certainly create more clarity for you. Challenging conventional financial wisdom is what can lead to increased financial confidence. Do not be like Smokey, and just assume you are correct. Take a step back, open your willingness to learn, and do this with an optimistic mindset. Those that have the greatest financial success in life often walk another path. They have the courage to stand up to the mass prescribed financial guidance that most often is pushed on us. They have the audacity to say, why? They also have the bravery to say, no. These are key qualities that allow you to take more control of your financial life and overcome the arrival syndrome.
So, what action steps can you take to ensure you are not barking up the wrong tree? First, do not just assume that what you are doing is correct, even if you are working with an advisor currently. Unless you are working with a financial MODEL that can stress test your critical areas of Protection, Assets, Liabilities and Cash flow, and how those areas interact with each other, it will be challenging to make intelligent financial decisions. The reason is without a model, you are guessing. Do you know what the tax rate will be in the year 2037? Do you know what interest rates will be in the year 2041? Do you know when the stock market will correct again? Do you know if you will become sick and not be able to work due to that sickness? Do you know how long you will live? Do you know how much money you will need to live on if inflation rises? The answers to all these questions are a big fat NO, OF COURSE NOT! So, if we are planning for our future, but cannot answer these questions, how can we even plan?
When a new building in New York City, or Dubai is about to be built, what is the first thing that happens? An engineer will do a study to ensure the safety of that proposed building, how it should be constructed, and analyze the risks that could jeopardize the integrity of that structure. For example, how will it hold up to a hurricane, or an earthquake? These are considerations that MUST be examined BEFORE the building is constructed. Why would planning for our financial future be any different than this?
You see, having a proactive approach and stress testing financial strategies under all circumstances first, before we implement them, can allow us to plan effectively and efficiently. The stock market will crash again, but your money does not have to move backwards, because you could have a plan in place for that risk. If there is a premature death, your family’s lifestyle does not have to change due to loss of income, because there can be a plan in place for that. Income taxes can go up, but your retirement income does not have to decrease, because you could have a plan in place for that.
Are you barking up the wrong tree?
I am the president and founder of Statera Wealth Solutions, Inc. We focus on sustainable wealth building solutions for those who want to grow and protect their wealth. Our modern perspective challenges outdated conventional financial wisdom, awarding our clients improved financial wellness and less financial stress.
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Material discussed is meant for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as tax, legal, or investment advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, the information should be relied upon only when coordinated with individual professional advice.
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Hope everyone enjoyed this month’s special advice from Chris Koopman!
May all of you have an empowering week!
WJ Vincent II
EmPower Your Dreams, Ignite Your Passion, Accelerate Your Prosperity
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