I’d like to take a moment to consider how we approach starting and remind us that we have control over how we act.
I travel into London each day on the train and invariably there is some kind of delay. Recently a power problem blocked my normal route into work. Train companies are not great at communicating in general, so you can perhaps imagine the fog of frustration that was spread along the platform. Not the best start.
Commuting is quite funny really with its unspoken rules including ‘thou shalt not talk to each other’! Well, I met a chap who decided to share his frustrations and feelings about rail company bosses. I can tell you that they were not positive, and the conversation took a few very dark twists. Thankfully a train soon arrived and whilst there was a bit of disruption it wasn’t too serious.
Standing on that train I thought about how we had both reacted to the same situation at the start of our day. We had both undoubtably had a bad start to the day and there was an impact, but I don’t think it was huge. He had chosen to adopt a very negative mindset and no doubt this will have framed his day. I was very tempted to take a similar viewpoint but stopped. I chose not to start the day negatively knowing that the circumstances were out of my control.
What has this got to do with financial planning? Sometimes things are out of our control – investment values fall, people fall ill, things don’t go to plan.
One of the things I took away from the Centre for Aging Better’s report in December (https://www.ageing-better.org.uk/publications/transition-to-retirement-rapid-evidence-review) was that if we think that retirement is going to be negative – it probably will be. I’m not saying that we should blindly ignore every bad thing that happens to us, but there is power in starting positively.
Financial Planning has a great start in that we encourage clients to look to their future goals and focus on them. Let’s not forget that they might not have thought in detail about this before.
They might not be starting with a blank canvas, but for some they might just have a few pencil marks in the corners. They might be approaching it from a dark place, from a hard day, or indeed a terrible train journey. Let’s help them choose to start positively and prepared to explore what might be possible.
And as Financial Planning professionals (whatever our role in the business), let’s be mindful of how we approach the day ahead. Let’s choose not to let a difficult start cloud a day that has yet to show it’s potential.
Starting is hard, but we have the ability to choose how we approach it. Let’s start!