The Secret to Confidence in Uncertain Times


January 26, 2016

Here in Houston the local economy has cooled considerably—a result of falling oil prices. I can hear the impact in the voices of those inquiring about our services. They are understandably worried. They don’t know what this difficult new environment means for their families and their plans for the future.


A year ago, the future looked bright. As long as everything continued as is, you may have been content to go along without a plan—not paying too much attention to finances. But now you feel the need to buckle down somehow, adjust to the challenging new environment. Is your household on the right track, with your money going into the right places? Are you saving enough to ensure your family’s future? If you’re near retirement, where will you get living expenses from?


What you need is a financial plan. Let’s talk about what one can do for you. In 30+ years of working with clients, I’ve learned that having a well thought out plan is the most impactful step you can take toward financial success. I’ve seen it change people’s lives, take them from a place of vulnerability and worry to confidence and control. I’ve seen it make people more generous, even improve their marriages and relationships. So if someone comes to me concerned about their financial situation, the first thing I tell them is not to do anything—like cutting spending or adjusting investments—until they have a plan. It all starts with a plan.


And a plan starts with an accurate understanding of your family’s income (inflows) and expenses (outflows), how those flows interact and can change over time. A plan will then have specific actionable ideas to align your inflows and outflows so you will be able to achieve your goals. For example, ideas may include restructuring your investments, reducing taxes or spending less on insurance. No rock should be left unturned in finding ways to improve your situation.


This kind of thorough plan puts your mind at ease by reducing uncertainty. And it keeps you on track to your goals by imposing discipline. Though you may not know everything that will happen in the future, you will be equipped to respond as needed when you have a thorough plan. The alternative is to ignore problems, proceed through your financial life without a map, and make adjustments on the fly in the midst of trouble.


Do that and you will miss out on one of the best benefits of having a plan—confidence even amid turmoil. Instead of feeling in control of your financial situation, you will feel that it controls you. At PARTNERSINWEALTH, we have been putting clients in control of their financial future since 1984. We’ve done it in down markets. We’ve done it in up markets. Now we’d like to do that for you. Please contact Jim Waters, CFP®, at 713.964.4028 or