I haven’t done a blog post in months. Thank you, COVID-19. Thankfully, my Priorities were well defined before the pandemic so I could respond in a healthy way to the pandemic. Let me explain.
As a solo advisor, I have to be just as careful about how I allocate my resources (time, energy and money) as I coach my clients. I’m chief cook and bottle washer here. This blog post and all free content (website, social media, etc.) come “out of my pocket” as I personally create every word you read.
Essentially, time and energy I spend writing here is time and energy that can’t go somewhere else. When COVID-19 hit, you’d think I would have had a lot MORE time. But I didn’t. Here’s why:
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#1 – MY HEALTH & FAMILY
My wife and kids are the driving force behind everything I do. Allyson and I have been married almost 30 years. Our children are grown up, out of the house and fully self-sufficient. Any chance to spend time with any of them is an opportunity I treasure.
I’m no good to them (or anyone else) if I am sick, worn out or half way to my death bed. To that end, I intentionally keep stress levels manageable, get 7-8 hours of sleep every night, watch my weight, avoid sugar and eat plenty of healthy foods.
#2 – MY CLIENTS
I’m an analyst by nature and a financial planner by training. For me, it’s fun to spend hours digging into the details of business or personal accounts, thinking proactively and finding solutions for problems, even before they come up. That’s why I’ve coached business owners for over 20 years and done planning and investment management for more than 15 years. To me, that isn’t work. It’s who I am.
In that time, I’ve been blessed to meet and work with dozens of awesome clients. That “feeds” me, too. I want to keep clients happy so that I can keep spending time with them.
#3 – MY BUSINESS
As an entrepreneur and business owner, part of my “worth” is wrapped up in the success (size & growth) of my business. Income is good, but it can always be better. More clients would be better, too. I’m sure there are great people out there I haven’t met who would value what I do.
The path to that growth and those new client relationships is marketing. Free Content (like social media posts and this blog) is where all my current clients found me. It got ALTUS Wealth Solutions to where it is today.
And I enjoy writing so the cost (time) is not the burden it could be. But marketing, especially free-content marketing takes a good chunk of time.
WHAT COVID-19 DID TO MY PRIORITIES
My Family/Health, My Clients and My Business have been my Top 3 Priorities for decades. Up until COVID-19, I’ve been able to work on all three pretty much at all times. Since March of 2020, however, #1 and #2 took over leaving no time for #3.
The COVID-19 lockdowns gave me more time for healthy living, the garden and spending time with family. Coronavirus also offered opportunities for clients (and me) to reexamine goals, values and priorities. It has opened new doors that required new analysis and many plan reviews.
COVID-19 has changed a lot. You can either be flexible and work with what has changed or you can be rigid and let it work against you. “Bob & Weave” has been the mantra since March, 2020. It should be the mantra at all times.
But it takes (lots of extra) time to make a plan that is truly flexible. I’ve always felt that I built strategies that were proactive and responsive … and they are better than most.
The past year has demonstrated how much room for improvement there is.
Look, your financial plan should be a tool that helps you make better daily decisions – even when a pandemic hits. A 50-page document in a binder won’t do that. A page or two is best.
Beyond that, good planning is conversations, observations, being clear about the lay of the land in front of you and being able to make quality decisions in alignment with your priorities and values.