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Financial Advisor Admits I’m Worried About My Own Retirement

Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

Dear Bev,

I appreciated your article a couple of weeks ago on mindfulness. I admit I’m not much for the foo-foo stuff. I can’t ever see myself meditating or the like, but the comments around focus were helpful. My question is around stress.

I find myself more and more concerned every week worrying about the markets. Things have been very good for a long time, and lately there have been strong indicators and market performance. But I’ve been doing this for over 35 years and I can’t help but think about what’s happened in the past. We are managing money well for our clients; I’m not worried about our performance per se but I am worried about my own retirement and holdings.

I want to stop doing this in three to four years and am not sure where we’ll be. I know it sounds crazy coming from an investment professional. Yes, I have a well-allocated portfolio, am prepared for all exigencies and believe in what we do. I recognize it isn’t rational in many ways, but it’s real for me. I am having all kinds of physical problems as a result of the stress.

Without telling me to meditate, which I do not want to do, what can I do to remove this fear? It’s not like I can’t pay attention to the economic news and the markets. It’s what I do every day.

A.A.

Dear A.A.,

That’s the problem with fears and worries – they are rarely rational. But they are based in some reality. Over 35 years, you have watched clients lose significant amounts of money and you have done so yourself, most likely. It isn’t that it doesn’t happen; it does. And it is the anticipation of it happening again that can be the detriment for us. I remember reading a quote by Zig Ziglar back when I was a student of positive psychology – he said, “Worry is the interest paid on trouble before it comes due.” I looked up the quote and it appears Zig may have repeated it from William Ralph Inge.

In any event, it stuck with me and changed my approach to worrying about things. Worry depletes our energy, both emotional and physical. When we do need to store up resources and respond to crises, we need to have all of our energy about us and when we’ve spent too much time worrying, we’re not in the strongest position to address what’s needed.

It’s not easy, however. And you are right; you have seen concerning things happen over 35 years and we all know that at some point there will be a market correction. Who knows when, and that’s the problem!

Read the full article by Beverly Flaxington, Advisor Perspectives

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