Clowning Around With Your Money?

If you were strolling through the park and a clown wearing purple and yellow polka-dots wheeled past you on his unicycle, you’d probably notice him, right? If you were on a cell phone at the time, think again.

A study published in a recent issue of Applied Cognitive Psychology discovered that 75 percent of the cell phone users in the study suffered from “inattentional blindness.”(1) In other words, three quarters of them did not report seeing the clown. Now, imagine if you put these same people behind the wheel of an SUV.

Regardless what you think about cell phone use, the study also illustrates how hard it is to keep track of everything at once. Juggling your child’s band practice with picking up cold medicine for your ailing spouse, working over the lunch hour on that critical paperwork, meeting the cable repair company “sometime between 1 pm and 3 pm,” and … Well, you get the idea.

How much time and energy do you have left for thoughtful reflection about your investments? If you’re like most people, you end up having to make important long-term decisions about your money while surrounded by short-term distractions. To make matters worse, financial news often leaves people feeling as if they must react whenever something particularly good or bad happens in the markets.

Sure, I have my own life’s distractions just as anyone else does, and I enjoy spending time with my wife and our young son every chance I get. But as an independent investment advisor, I am able to devote my entire professional career to keeping clients’ best financial interests at heart, even when they may be incredibly busy with truly important things in their lives, such as taking care of their family or pursuing their personal and professional interests. For example, I can take the time that my clients cannot always find, to carefully consider their investing in a larger context. Wealth management is about more than simply creating piles of money. It also should include planning to spend that money before and during retirement; mitigating unforeseen risks through appropriate insurance coverage; considering the family or philanthropic legacy you hope to build; and more. It’s a career that I love, and I wouldn’t trade it in for the world.

While we’re on the subject of cars, I’d also like to follow up on a blog I posted in late September, in which we offered tips on purchasing cars with minimum hassle. One of our tactics was to distribute a “request for proposal” or “bid” to a variety of dealers in the region before spending our time meeting with them personally. This helped us compare and contrast dealers in an apples-to-apples way, without having to drive all over town. Here’s a fax/e-mail template you can use for this purpose.

I wish you a safe, distraction-free driving experience, for both your car and your wealth!

About the author

Tom Posey, CFP®, J.D., AAMS

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