The new year resolution is a rather cliché topic for this time of year, so we won’t write an article about that.
Many people have gone into 2021 with a sense of renewed optimism, notwithstanding that most of Europe remains in COVID-lockdown, and the uncertainty that surrounds US political and social life amongst other issues. It is felt that the US unrest is time limited, and that the arrival and commencement of distribution of vaccines have generated a sense of being able to see a brighter future not too far ahead. Furthermore, a Brexit deal was reached and is being implemented, creating more certainty for many people.
With all the dramatic events of the last year, it is NOT new year’s resolutions that are driving some people to activity, but a deeper contemplation and introspection on how they want to live and what is most important to them. More thorough analyses and important questions that can shape our lives rather than novelty aspirational targets that we set nominally every January.
We have found that the combination of extra time through lockdown, in particular across the holiday season with the inability to take vacations, and most social activities closed, has meant that many people are taking a fresh look at how they are living and questioning some of their core assumptions. The changes to the way we live, like working from home, less commuting and travel have led some people to re-think what is most important to them.
We have been working with a number of international clients recently going through exactly this process. Our clients have felt there is real value in working with us as they articulate and recalculate their life’s plans and their related financial and investment goals and actions. These can include where and how they work, where and how they live, education for children, where and how they invest, and longer-term retirement plans. Changes like Brexit are also driving immigration status, residency and citizenship changes.
The forced changes of this pandemic have exposed vulnerabilities for some people and our renewed awareness of risks is an opportunity to build resilience. That is preparing for the next Black Swan event. The confluence of events in 2020 can be considered a Black Swan Event- an unpredicted scenario with substantial negative impacts. We don’t know what the next Black Swan event might be, but we do know there will be one. Focusing on what is most important to you and working with a firm like us, can help you to plan, prepare and insulate your lives from the impact of the next event. This is the core of what we do. We are Black Swan capital not because we can predict the next event- we cannot- but because we are focused on preparing and building contingencies for their inevitability, whenever they occur and whatever form they take.
When you have a goal, something that it important to you that you want to achieve in the future, one of the hardest aspects is to be able to quantify the target. Having a “good quality of life in 15 years” or “to be financially independent” are admirable goals but if you cannot define them, how do you know if you are on track, or when you have achieved the goal?
When you have the goal, the action plan- how to get there- is the next step, and for increasing numbers of people, the how includes global issues such as investing in socially and environmentally sustainable ways.
Major global events of the last year have been the catalyst for many people to deeper contemplation to review goals, life plans, what is most important to them and how they want to live. This inevitably includes money and how to structure and manage investments. Speak with us to make sure your plans and your investments are aligned and helping you to achieve your goals.
To help you out, whether you are identifying your goals because you just unwrapped a shiny new 2021 calendar or because you just feel it’s about time you started taking control of your finances, here’s your action plan for right now:
- Identify your goals – Be as precise or abstract as you like, but write each target down and give it a name and an identity.
- Quantify each goal – Turn that target into a number. How much money would you need to make it a reality right now?
- Create a deadline – Set a timescale for when you want or need to achieve each target.
- Plot a course to achieve it – Here’s where some professional help will come in handy to create a plan for the best chance of achieving your goals. Seek good, impartial advice.
- Start work – A plan means nothing until you commit to it. No matter what time of year, you should make a resolution to take action.