Eyes On Your Own Money

The other night my family did something so 2019. We went out. Together. In public! Specifically, we attended a school function, live and in person. Being able to watch my daughter perform with her class's music program for the first time in over a year—no live stream or Zoom required—felt truly amazing.

We anxiously arrived at the school and were thrilled to greet other parents and settle on a bench next to close friends. The show started out great—kindergarten through third graders took the stage to sing and dance, joyfully raising their sweet young voices in heartfelt worship (it's a local Christian school). The kids were adorable in their dress clothes, the music was catchy, and they all knew the songs! All was going perfectly, except…

Slip. Our daughter was having issues keeping her mask in place. Every so often the movements would cause her mask to fall below her nose and mouth. Slip. As it happened again and again I began to feel nervous, and a series of thoughts ran through my mind:

… Restrictions are easing, but we still wear masks to help stay safe. Was she in danger of getting sick because of this mishap? Or might she unknowingly spread the virus to a nearby friend? Unlikely, but us moms worry, right?

…How was she handling things emotionally? Would she get upset and stop in the middle of her routine to adjust the wayward mask, causing her to fall behind on her movements? What if she simply gave up and ran off the stage in frustration?

…What if my husband leapt out of his seat to fix this issue for our little girl? (Yeah, that one would be embarrassing—for both her and myself.)

But I needn't have worried. As happens so often, kids handle unplanned situations better than we give them credit for. My daughter simply adjusted the mask each time it slipped, never missing a beat (literally!). No anger, no tears, no fleeing from the stage—a total “the show must go on” mentality. She just did what she had to do. And smiled.

Yes, I was beaming with pride.

Later, it occurred to me that probably nobody else even noticed her challenges. The other parents only had a laser focus on their own kids—not mine. Because that's what mattered to them.

The realization that they were only concerned with their own child's performance reminded me that this is exactly how things are when the stock market drops—people typically react based upon where their personal investments are allocated.

Let's look back to the first quarter 2020 when the S&P 500 dropped 20%. Many people were initially alarmed and took notice. And no wonder, when headlines were screaming, Warning! The market is crashing! Impending doom ahead! 

But headlines don't always tell the whole story. Fortunately, many were able to look beneath the surface to see the bigger picture and what it meant for them. With this in mind, let's look at a couple of important points to remember during market highs and lows:

It's only your money that matters.

Like the parents who zeroed in on their own kids during the performance, it's best to focus on your investments rather than the entire market. Our clients have their own customized portfolios, which means they're positioned correctly based on personal risk tolerance and financial goals. So when the market sinks like it did last March—because at some point it will—don't get hung up on the whole “show.” Follow your own “performance” instead. Typically a risk-adjusted portfolio will not mirror the wild swings and ups or downs of broader markets.

Trust your financial advisor. (And if you don't, get a new advisor.)

A good advisor is watching your investments when things seem shaky. To begin with, my clients aren't invested in the entire S&P 500, so daily ups and downs aren't too concerning. While they may certainly have some investments found within S&P 500, their money isn't necessarily in a mirroring portfolio.

Furthermore, communication during swings is essential. During the wild rollercoaster of 2020, my clients had personalized attention toward their own customized portfolio. Not only was I there when they needed me, but I was proactive in reaching out to share information and offer reassurance when necessary. They knew they weren’t the only ones watching their money!  

But I give my clients credit. Overall, there was very little stress and I feel proud of the trust they gave me. I credit that to the relationships we built while preparing for just such an event.

I believe there key moments in life when you need to trust the systems and people you’ve put in place. This isn’t always easy when it comes to our money, or our kids. When I sat back and I trusted my daughter to handle her mask issue—sure, I worried a bit. But I didn't panic and she weathered the storm just fine. If there had been a real problem, though, she knew that my husband and I would be there for her—just like I'm always there for my clients.

Bloomington Normal Retirement Planner Krista McBeathKrista McBeath is an Investment Advisor, Chartered Financial Consultant, a Licensed Insurance Advisor, a Fiduciary, and an experienced tax advisor who specializes in financial planning, investments, and insurance.

She utilizes advanced tools for in-depth calculations that analyze tax and retirement scenarios to help their clients avoid a future tax time-bomb.  Whether this means enjoying more of your hard-earned money in retirement or passing along assets to loved ones, with less tax burden, planning makes the difference.

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