Today I Might Be Crazy

Today I might be crazy. I signed up for the 2017 CrossFit Games. I have only been participating in CrossFit since last July, I am not a top athlete, I am not highly competitive, I have no hope of making it to the regional games for my age group, I will have to scale almost every movement and I will not even rank highly in my gym. So, why sign up and participate?  Because, without hurdles to overcome or goals to achieve life becomes complacent. It’s lose track of where you are heading based on where you wanted to go in the first place.

This morning’s MET-CON at “the box” was a cardio killer, our trainer said it was the hardest of the week because the first Games workout is on Friday. Yikes, that’s coming up fast.  I’ll be the first to say, I’m probably not ready, but will I ever be? Each week for the next 5 everyone participating in the games will compete at their box with the same workout and then log our results. The top scores will move on to additional events until the elite from across the country (maybe the world?) will gather this summer to compete in the finals.

If there isn’t hope of any substantial outcome, why compete? I decided to compete because I made a commitment last July to give CrossFit a one year opportunity to see what it could do for me. I made the commitment, so I will give it 100% until the end of my evaluation period. If that means pushing myself to do more than I thought I could than that is what I will do. I’m already stronger than I’ve ever been. But, I can do more.

I could workout at the local gym or in my home. Would I push myself as hard? No, absolutely not. Unless you have crazy determination and focus, it’s important to seek outside guidance to move beyond where you are today. The best will always tell you they have had a coach or a mentor and they wouldn’t have gotten where they are without their guidance.

In my practice, I push clients to set goals, break them into small bites and develop timelines toward completion. Unfortunately, I don’t receive much feedback that the clients are taking advantage of power of goal setting. Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, did a study on goal-setting with 267 participants. She found that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down.

So why not write them down? My uneducated guess is a fear of failure. But, if you wrote down a goal, be it financial, lifestyle, personal growth, career, health, etc. and did anything toward achieving the goal, wouldn’t you be further toward the end than if you didn’t take any action? How is that failure? It’s not, you should praise yourself for the progress you’ve made. Then, reassess the goal, redefine the interim steps and recalculate the goal date.

Forbes reports a remarkable study about goal-setting carried out in the Harvard MBA Program. Harvard’s graduate students were asked if they have set clear, written goals for their futures, as well as if they have made specific plans to transform their fantasies into realities. The result of the study was only 3 percent of the students had written goals and plans to accomplish them, 13 percent had goals in their minds but haven’t written them anywhere and 84 percent had no goals at all. Think for a moment which group you belong to. After 10 years, the same group of students were interviewed again and the conclusion of the study was totally astonishing. The 13 percent of the class who had goals, but did not write them down, earned twice the amount of the 84 percent who had no goals. The 3 percent who had written goals were earning, on average, 10 times as much as the other 97 percent of the class combined. People who don’t write down their goals tend to fail easier than the ones who have plans.

So, what does competing in the CrossFit Games have to do with financial planning? Absolutely nothing, for someone at my level. But it has everything to do with living my best life. What commitments will you make to live your best life? Will you write them down? Will you share them with your financial planner, life-coach, mentor, trainer so you have your own personal cheerleader in your corner?

The Positive Today

We wake this morning to a new day, one that has had the world markets tumbling overnight at the news of our US President elect. I write this before the markets in the US open, already aware of a 5% drop in value. When the market opens at 9:30 a.m. EST, the markets will probably continue their downslide.

It may be tempting, but the event of a presidential election is not an event that should cause panic. Nor is it an event that should trigger impulse decisions. If anything, a downturn in the market provides us with opportunities.

Today, and probably for a few days or more to come will be a good time to sell off holdings in taxable accounts that are at a capital loss; thereby creating a tax benefit for, potentially, years to come. You remember the old adage, “buy low, sell high?” The next few days will bring us opportunities to buy low.

Historically, volatility in the market displayed around a presidential election does not last long. Historically, the markets do rise. I expect no different following this election. How far will the down go down? When will the up begin to go back up? Well, my magic crystal ball gives me no answers today. What it tells me is that now is a good time to take advantage of the opportunities provided.

  • Now is a good time to consider and write down your goals for the next six to twelve months.
  • Now is a good time to realize that only you are in-charge of your future.
  • Now is a good time to remember that you are in control of how you respond to everyday challenges.
  • Now is a good time to remember that you are in control of how you treat all life around you.

Your smile and kindness are yours to share. Today make lemonade out of market lemons. Take a moment to breathe and center yourself; find your positive spirit and pass along positive kindness.

At Harbor Light Planning, we do not believe in market timing, nor do we have discretion over client assets. We do not trade without your knowledge and approval. If you would like to take advantage of the tax and buying opportunities handed to us today, please contact your financial advisor. They should be able to provide recommendations based upon current capital gains/loss reports in your taxable accounts and provide recommendation on buying opportunities available with cash in your accounts (taxable and otherwise).

Entering the World of Social Media

Clean and Neat Social Network Buttons-128x128 (1) Thirteen years ago I opened the doors of Harbor Light Planning. Since then, I’ve done everything possible to avoid social media for business purposes. Why? Good question. I think for the majority of the time, I didn’t have the time. Since I didn’t have the time, I didn’t want the extra responsibility to create content, but more so, I didn’t want the added level of compliance complexity using social media brings into the fold.

I’ve watched social media grow to a point where it has become impossible to ignore. I still don’t have a twitter account, I don’t use pinterest and I use facebook for purely personal purposes. So, why start now?

I recently decided that my time as a solo practitioner was not doing all I can do for the financial planning industry. Our industry has done a great job getting the word out how important it is for everybody to employ a fee-only financial planner. Our industry has done a great job educating young people about how great a career in financial planning can be. The disconnect comes in that most fee-only financial planning firms are extremely small. Therefore, not providing enough financial planning college grads with job opportunities, or ability to learn from those more experienced. I was lucky enough to be hired by a firm, to learn, to grow, to become successful (with them or on my own). Now has come the time to pass on my 25+ years of experience in tax and financial planning to the next generation of planner.

A few months ago, my practice of one doubled in size to become two. In all honesty, to double in staff size brings a need for new clients. Which types of prospective clients will be the right type of client for our newest staff? Well, most clients like to work with someone like them, and most planners also like to work with someone like them. Although it’ll be at least year before Kyle will be ready to service clients on his own, he deserves clients that can relate to him and vice a versa. The ideal client demographic for his age, use social media, a lot.

Stay tuned for information on our New Journey’s program designed specifically for the young professional.