The past year hasn’t been easy on any of us. Those who have retirement plans in place have likely seen them take a hit and are struggling to avoid making emotional decisions that will impact their plans even further. And those who have not yet put a solid retirement plan into place are likely avoiding doing so now because they have no idea what tomorrow will bring, let alone the next twenty to forty years of their working lives. However, not knowing what the future holds is not something specific to the pandemic. We never truly know what lies in store for us and avoiding making plans until the environment for doing so is perfect is a fallacy. Here’s why the enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan and how you can take care of your financial future no matter what is going on in the world.
The Danger of Perfectionism
If you’re waiting until all the stars align before putting a retirement plan in place, it’s likely you suffer from perfectionism. Perfectionists set unrealistically high expectations for themselves (and often others) and often strive to control their environment in an attempt to achieve their goals. Because there are certain things in our environments (like the pandemic) that can’t be controlled, perfectionists often respond by procrastinating. Of course, the more they procrastinate, the less likely they are to achieve their goals, so it becomes a downward spiral. Perfectionists fail to realize that making a decision that might not be rock solid is better than making no decision at all.
Creating a Plan in a Pandemic
The pandemic does not have to be a retirement killer as long as you don’t let it paralyze you and prevent you from making decisions. I’ve referred to the pandemic in past blogs as the apocalypse du jour, meaning it’s not the first or the last crisis we will encounter. If you put off making decisions until there are no crises, you’ll be putting them off forever.
I know it seems like 2020 has changed everything, and this can be overwhelming—especially for perfectionists who try to maintain the illusion of control. If you’re a perfectionist and don’t have a retirement plan in place, now is the time to start. Not three or six months from now when the pandemic (hopefully) is over, and not three years from now when you finally have that solid job with a good income. Now.
The first step to creating a plan during the pandemic—or at any time—is to have the right advisor by your side. If you work with a fiduciary who is obligated to put your interests first, he or she will always advise you to stay calm during turbulent times and put a solid plan in place that will perform well long-term no matter what’s going on in the world. Once you have the right partner to work with, you can make smart decisions together to create a plan you feel comfortable with.
Don’t let perfectionism keep you from making the decisions that will help secure your financial future. When you accept the fact that your environment is never totally within your control, you can put practical plans in place and increase your chances of success. Need a financial planner who will have your back and put your needs first? Please reach out. I’d love to talk more.