By Joseph R. Weiland, CFP®, Managing Partner

How did 2020 work for your finances?  Was this a terrible year or was this a transformative year moving you closer to your goals?  While most people think that the answer depended upon what industry you work in, it is simpler than that.  The more important question is, did you enter the year with a plan? If so, did you keep to that plan? 

A financial plan is designed for good years and bad.  In fact, it expects to see both kinds of years and works to make certain that the good years are getting you ready for the inevitable bad years. I live by the mantra; There are no emergencies in financial planning.  If we have an emergency today, we made a mistake five years ago. 

2020 was a year that tested everyone’s confidence in the future.   By early March, it was a foregone conclusion that our economy was in for the roughest year since the great depression…. or worse!  Anyone that held stock was forced to consider selling and waiting out the storm.  If you had a plan, you had a reason to hold steady through the storm.  And it was a storm!  Diversified portfolios were down 30%.  When this applies to your life savings, this is a significant hit to your future.  For many, panic was the next step.  Sell and wait it out.  If that was your course of action, your result was missing the recovery.

At Arlington we held steady, not because we knew what was coming, but rather because we had a plan.  Our plan is in place to ensure the best outcome when the world is shutting down, markets are crashing, and investors are panicking.  Our plan is not complex, hold steady and rebalance.  We rebalance our portfolios into the allocation that will allow our clients finances to recover.  We will do this again when the times comes. Make no mistake, the time will come again.  We have seen it before and we will see it again. 

Our financial lives are a one-shot deal.  There are no re-dos.  If we made a mistake, sold at the low and missed the recovery, we cannot go back and fix it.  We must plan from where we stand now.  You cannot go back in time and fix any of your financial mistakes regardless of what they are; whether it is buy that insurance that you should have had in place, get that will written, buy the house when you could, sell a portion of a too big stock holding, save for your kids education, not retire prematurely or any of the other financial mistakes that people make.  We have seen it all.  People without a plan have emergencies.  People with a plan have choices.  Their choices include hold steady and rebalance, contact your insurance agent, talk to your lawyer, give your financial advisor a call and request funds to get you through the tough spot or my favorite, relax and enjoy the good life that you have created.  This last option is usually due to the fact you have plan in place and have made a minimum of mistakes.   The people that we work with are able to choose to enjoy the good life since they have continued to execute on their plan.  Consequently, 2020 was another financial success!

If you need a plan, give us a call.