Broker Check

Five Financial Levers You Can Truly Control

With Thanksgiving nearing, it’s an opportune time to reflect on all of the blessings we have received throughout our lives. If we look closely, even challenging times often bring opportunities or allow us to cherish wonderful memories. It’s important to remember that while financial events are currently dominating the news, our thoughts and our lives, there are many other areas of life which bring and provide lasting fulfillment and purpose. I hope this holiday season reminds you of these blessings.

Five Financial Levers You Can Truly Control

By now, I think we all realize how little influence we have over the financial markets. Even affluent individuals, like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates have minimal impact on market performance, especially long-term. So, what can we do since investments are a key tool in attaining our goals?

The mistake that most people make is to focus on their investments’ returns and values and allow these results to drive their decisions…and emotions. This inadvertently leaves out the other key factors which can significantly influence achieving your financial goals. Coincidentally, these other factors are precisely the ones which we can control. They are:

  • How much you spend
  • How much you save
  • When you take distributions
  • How much risk you’re willing to take
  • How much you want to leave for those about whom you care

In volatile times like these, people should focus on these five levers which they can adjust. Can you reduce spending? Can you increase savings? Can you delay withdrawals from investments? Is the investment risk of your holdings inline with the size and time horizon of your objectives? Have you reviewed the amount you wish to leave to your heirs and to charity? By revisiting these areas to balance your priorities and by making some tradeoffs, you can stay on track to live your ideal financial life. While investing plays a critical role in reaching your goals, it’s not the only, and most often the first, action which should be evaluated and adjusted.