My son’s t-ball team recently won the championship in the Oak Park, Illinois youth baseball league. Over the course of the season, we experienced many highs and lows. That’s the nature of coaching 5, 6 and 7-year olds. I witnessed joys and agonies among these young competitors who are just learning to deal with life’s ups and downs.
Investing also delivers a lot of ups and downs and this roller-coaster is sometimes not that fun to ride. I particularly feel my clients’ anxiety about the topic of a market correction. Many people are worried that a market correction may damage their wealth and set them back in the game. I don’t have any pat answers to this. But I did learn some lessons from coaching this season that I think might help all of us chart the best possible course forward.
Stay organized and focus on goals
When you coach 5, 6 and 7-year olds, you have to be very focused and well-organized. Their energy, enthusiasm and desire to play are nearly overwhelming. Along with my fellow-coaches, we planned every practice to focus on basic skill development. By being organized and rotating players through stations, we saw a lot of growth and had a lot of fun too.
The same is true in financial planning. To help you reach your goals, the first thing we do is clearly identify them. Then we organize a multi-year plan that is designed to most likely achieve your individual goals. There will be ups and downs. But by focusing on your long-terms goals, we help put you in the best possible position to win.
Work hard on the fundamentals
There is a lot of repetition in baseball and this can be very tiresome for kids. I can’t tell you how many times I heard things like “do we have to do that again?” and “why can’t we just hit?” But by practicing drills time after time, we saw huge growth in the offense and defense of our team.
Financial strategies require a lot of fundamentals too. I think of our Financial Planning, Investment Management and Retirement Planning services as the offense on your team – strategies designed to grow your wealth. I think of Tax Planning, Estate Planning and Risk And Insurance Planning as defensive strategies designed to protect your wealth. It takes both offense and defense to win.
It takes a team to win
When I first started coaching, at the beginning of the season, it was obvious to me that some players had more advanced skills than others. But to win, we had to play as a team. This meant we needed to coach our less experienced players at their level and give them opportunities when they were ready for them. We also needed to arrange our players in the field on game day so as to most likely achieve a win.
It also takes a team to win in our financial lives. There is no one person who knows everything and this makes it necessary to bring a range of experts to the table. Whitnell is very fortunate to have some serious depth at the bench when it comes to an array of financial concerns: taxes, investments, retirement and estate planning. We have advanced experts in these areas and can also tap into an extended network of professionals quickly to support our clients.
But we are also actively fostering a group of younger players who will one day be our starters. Our clients benefit from this depth in two important ways. First, our up-and-coming teammates back us up all the time on important details that require further research and analysis. Second, we fully intend for them to serve you and your family for generations to come. This means your children’s children could benefit from the same high level of service that you realize today.
Place your emphasis on those things you can control
In T-ball there are a lot of things that we cannot control. I witnessed the elation of a player getting a great hit or making a good play. But I also saw the dejection of a player striking out or being put out at first base. I noted how the players impacted one another with the things they said and did on the bench and in the field. I have come to believe that coaching is a lot about helping young players learn to focus on those things they can control and letting go of those things they cannot control.
I believe the same is true in our financial lives. If you are worried about whether or not a market correction is coming, you are worried about something you cannot control. The impact to you is, at the very least, a distraction and possibly a serious deterioration of your quality of life.
The vast majority of my clients have acquired their wealth the old fashioned way – they’ve worked hard for it. We recognize the sweat, toil and effort it took to get you to where you are today. We are fully committed to protecting your wealth while at the same time optimizing your growth opportunities.
Part of the fundamentals we’ve put in place is a clear understanding of your risk tolerances. We have institutionalized this understanding in a set of policies that we are prepared to execute on your behalf should a market correction occur. We carefully monitor the markets and watch out for conditions that might require us to take action.
We do all of this so you can focus on your life, your family, your work and not worry about your wealth.
One of the other major goals I had as a T-ball coach this season was for all of my players to have fun. I wanted them to enjoy the experience of being on a team and playing this great game. The championship win at the end of the season was a real bonus. The experience of being in the fourth of July parade was one I’ll never forget. While winning is important, having fun matters too.
I guess what I’m saying is that I really want you to enjoy your life and not worry about things that we cannot control. I became a professional financial advisor because I enjoy protecting and enhancing the wealth of the families I’m privileged to serve. I take my commitments very seriously and focus on the details so you can focus on living life to the fullest.
If there is anything I can do to help you realize greater peace of mind, I’d appreciate the opportunity to have a conversation. Or if you would like to talk about coaching, baseball or working with kids, I’d welcome that conversation as well.
The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only. No illustration or content in it should be construed as a substitute for informed professional tax, legal, and/or financial advice.