Tom Sedoric and Casey Snyder

As if on cue with the political season, recent market volatility has reminded us again of the need to carefully consider our plans for the future. For many, this can seem a daunting task as emotional unease created by this environment can often cause investors to delay one decision after another. Emotions aside, it is our experience that clients that are dependent on planning rather than on markets tend to have better life outcomes over time. We are not weathermen, after all- in fact, a good advisor’s role should be more like that of a pilot. 

What does planning-dependent mean? First, it requires a sense of clarity about expectations, opportunities, risks, weaknesses and sequence. Whether it’s at the beginning phase of accumulating your first nest egg or later on in the process, it is critical to know why you are investing before considering what you should actually invest in. We like to think we are in control of our destinies, but in reality none of us control markets, interest rates, currency flows, or much that makes up the global macroeconomic picture puzzle. The first decade and a half of this century have taught us that volatility and down markets can occur, and sometimes violently. The “tech wreck” of 2000 and the financial crisis of 2008 stand as fine examples of why markets should be seen as tools, not salvation. 

The lesson? We can’t control markets, or the timing of our financial endeavors. Markets certainly have their place, but planning is by far the more tangible virtue. Ask yourself the following: 

  • How do you handle cash flow? Do you understand where your money goes?
  • How do you plan to handle debt, especially if you are of the post-Baby Boom generation dealing with escalating student debt?
  • How do you look at risk sequencing? Should you buy a house, have a baby, and buy a new car all in the same year that you receive your first job bonus? 
  • Are you mindful in acknowledging that taking risk doesn’t guarantee a return?
  • Are you self-reliant and willing to take responsibility for your choices? 

Unfortunately, for too many baby boomers the planning ship has sailed and retirement may not be quite as financially serene as they had hoped. Yet, even a delayed emphasis on strategic planning can only serve to help - better late than never, indeed. 

The emerging generation of millennials has the opportunity to set a strong course for themselves. They are pre-wired to be cautious due to the economic havoc they witnessed from the housing bubble crash of 2008, the daunting levels of student debt they face, and from observing their parent’s financial security erode in recent years. This trial-by-fire experience will most certainly provide enlightenment and build engagement, but won’t guarantee anything without proper planning. 

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower was a meticulous planner and made sure that ethos went up and down the ranks. He was in charge of the D-Day invasion, an undertaking that required unimaginable levels of planning and logistical calculus and choreography. Yet, as the greatest armada in history neared the shores of France in early June of 1944, Eisenhower was humble enough to compose messages of both success and failure, because he knew that success was not a guaranteed commodity. Though ultimately the invasion succeeded, he recognized early that even the best laid plans are rendered useless if not executed properly. 

The lessons of General Eisenhower still ring true seven decades later: “Plans are nothing; Planning is everything.”

This information has been obtained from sources deemed to be reliable but its accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. The views expressed are those of Tom Sedoric – Partner, Executive Managing Director and Wealth Manager and D. Casey Snyder, CFP® - Partner, Senior Vice President and Wealth Manager and are not necessarily those of Raymond James. Steward Partners Global Advisory LLC and The Sedoric Group maintain a separate professional business relationship with, and our registered professionals offer securities through, Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC. 2985754