Human beings are incredibly good at solving problems. We figure it out...We get by. This is evident by how many of us get through our day with food on the table, kids make it to soccer practice, antibiotics and medications heal us, and bills get paid. Problems Solved!
However, if you are like me at the end of the day, solving all these problems can take its toll. I mean, it can be stressful solving things day after day after day. What if we could remove some of these problems that require solving? Would our lives become less stressful? Would we have better outcomes? It makes sense, maybe a little obvious. However, I am here to tell you most of us are better at solving problems than preventing them and that is not necessarily good.
This concept of problem prevention has been around for a while. We hear it a lot when it comes to our health. Ideas such as eating more fruits and vegetables, watching your diet and exercise, staying away from sugar, or drinking less alcohol. These ideas are all things we know, yet many of us still have a tough time staying on the path to prevent health problems later in our life. However, if we do get sick, we head straight to the doc to help solve our problem.
The same could be said of our personal finances. Ideas such as saving more money, diversifying your portfolio, purchasing insurance, and getting your will updated are tossed around because we know they can help prevent problems in the future. And again, we often fall short for one reason or another. And when the problem arises because we did a poor job with prevention, we try and solve it.
Here are some hypothetical examples of how some people may approach these problems:
- Short on money? Go to friends, family, or the credit card to solve the problem.
- Die without a Will? Time to let the probate courts solve the problem.
- Not enough life insurance? Better start a GoFundMe account to try to solve the problem
- Business Owners never got around to that Buy-Sell Agreement? Going into business with your deceased partner's spouse to try to solve the problem.
And usually the problem gets solved, I mean we always figure it out, right? However, often the solution can be stressful and less than optimal, even harmful.
So, how can we become better problem preventers?
- Begin to think of your Personal Finances as a Business and view your Spouse or significant other as a Business Partner.
- Set aside dedicated time to evaluate this “Business” and your entire financial picture at least annually. This can be done with your spouse and/or with your Advisor.
- Review your Protection (Insurance and Legal Documents)
- Review your Income and Savings Rate
- Review your Assets (How you own them, Risk, Performance, Beneficiaries)
- Review your Tax Environment
- Establish Systems and Processes for Saving and Investing and remove the daily trivia and let Time be your ally.
- What path are you on?
- Maintain relationships with Professionals and Engage with them and profit from their experience and the success and failures of their clients.
- Financial Professionals
Inevitably action items will come out of the above bullets. Execute these action items timely.
The reality is that not all problems can be prevented, or even solved. However, one can help limit stress and have better outcomes over time if the focus is on problem prevention versus problem solving. It is still early in 2023, so if you have not taken the time to holistically evaluate your “business”, set aside some time, identify some areas to shore up, and let’s get ahead of some problems.
Go get em...
Material discussed is meant for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as tax, legal, or investment advice. Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents, and employees do not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. Consult your tax, legal, or accounting professional regarding your individual situation. 2023-151606 (Exp. 2/28)