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To Fly, or Not to Fly?

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

We discussed the likelihood of last month's drop in consumer confidence a couple of weeks ago, and last week, I wrote about how to calculate the value of a financial advisor. It didn’t really occur to me until this weekend how intertwined the two notes are.


After holding flat from June to July, the downward move in consumer confidence suggests that consumers are once again losing confidence in their personal situations as well as the economy overall, yet I continue to find that our clients’ financial plans actually have a modestly higher probability of success than they did back in May when confidence was so low. In fact, those numbers have hardly budged all year.


So, what gives?


I suppose part of the matter is that most people surveyed in the Refinitiv/Ipsos Primary Consumer Sentiment Index or the University of Michigan Survey of Consumers don’t work with financial advisors, but that’s probably too easy. The reality is that many investors do indeed have the same probability of achieving their goals (i.e. retiring on time, funding a child’s education, making a charitable donation, etc…), but they don’t know it—and feel it-- because of bad service from their financial advisor or fake news or some bad trades they made on Robinhood.


That reality segues to the real topic today, the importance of keeping your eyes on the prize.


Most people want to know that their finances are in order and that they’re stationed in life to move forward in the way that they planned. However, most people would prefer not to have to digest the impact of federal economic stimulus, the rate of failures of small businesses in their community or the timeline for a coronavirus vaccine. Instead, they want to dream like Jeron Lanier.


Ahhhhh, Jeron. There’s pretty much no question that Jeron’s a freak; he’s a “futurist”-- which is basically a polite way to say that he’s done a lot of acid. Suffice it to say that Jeron’s thinking is a little outside of the mainstream and awesome and part of why people love him. In fact, he might actually be a financial advisor’s dream client because we ask people to envision their future-- their life during retirement-- and, well, Jeron can envision A LOT. For example, if we can expect driverless cars in the future, Jeron can go next-level and imagine flying, electric, solar-powered, self-driving motorhomes.


Wait. What?


Look, if you had a flying, electric, solar-powered, self-driving motorhome, how would that change your life? Would you spend more time hovering over Bali and less time tending to your garden? Would you home-school your kids, or maybe enroll them in school in Tokyo? Would your real estate investments grow or decline in value? Or would you let everybody do whatever the hell they wanted with their flying RV’s just as long as you could ride horses with your grandchildren on your ranch in Durango?


When it comes to financial planning, it might be a good idea for all of us to embrace some of Jeron’s thinking. It doesn’t mean that you have to commit to an alternative future, but it might be exciting to think about it and plan for it, in one way or another. A monthly consumer confidence reading should be meaningful to your financial advisor, but it shouldn’t give most people pause for even a second thought.




For disclosure information please visit: https://www.rgbarinvestmentgroup.com/terms-and-conditions

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