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“How can I feel fine?”

Jul 27, 2017 | Lifestyle | 0 comments

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Amid all the uncertainty around us in South Africa and in the world, we often question and second-guess ourselves. Am I doing the right things with my money? How can I secure a future for me and my family? It can all feel very overwhelming at times but it is important to know you are not alone.

In our interactions over the years in which we have been practicing financial planning, if there is one word that best describes people’s feelings about money it would be “anxious”. If you, are struggling to feel fine, despite doing all the right things, may we suggest two things to consider:

1. A financial planning projection cannot guarantee you will be fine.

There is great value in having a plan. But the value is not that it gives you certainty. Just like any plan, financial ones are not guaranteed but are at best estimates about the future based on assumptions. A plan is revisited often in our interactions with you and reworked as your life and circumstances change. Financial plans are very important and can tell us the direction we’re headed, but they aren’t precise when it comes to our exact destination. They are just plans.

2. More money does not mean less anxious.

Some people have more money than they could ever spend, and they’re absolutely convinced that tomorrow will be the day it all disappears. In fact, in our experience there is very little correlation between someone’s net worth and their personal sense of financial security. Just to be clear: the issue is not actual financial security but the sense of personal security one feels.

The truth is that uncertainty is a reality. One major medical emergency, not to mention a million other things, can throw a spanner in the works. Although we can build a robust plan, we cannot plan for every eventuality. There is no magic certainty-button. Unfortunately it doesn’t exist. At some level, we must learn to be okay with the inevitable risk of simply being alive.

It’s worth taking note of the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

It’s no use worrying about those things over which you have no control. Focus on the things that are within your control. Make a list of the things that matter to you and that you can control. Address them one by one to the best of your ability.

For those things that you can’t control and start to feel fear or discomfort creep up, again remind yourself that you have addressed the things you can control and let go of the things you can’t. Take comfort that you have done the work and have a plan in place. You know which direction you are heading and this should go a long way to help you feel a little “more fine”.



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