In centuries past, great thinkers have expressed similar sentiments:
“Comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt
“The perfect is the enemy of the good” – Voltaire
Some people make financial decisions with a goal of “MORE!” which leads them down a path of performance chasing, market timing, and all sorts of other bad behavior. Others have the mindset of “More than my neighbor!“, evoking a constant state of comparison, fear of missing out, and over-analyzing.
Successful planning and investing are not the goal.
They are the means to the goal. I don’t invest because I want to be the best investor. I don’t even invest because I hope it will make me wealthy. I invest because one day I’d like to trade coffee at my desk for coffee on a balcony overlooking the Swiss Alps. (My wife might substitute “Swiss Alps” for “white sandy beach”. We’ll see.)
When you invest and plan around the life goals that are and have always been most important to you, it becomes easier to stick with the process that makes those goals achievable. Do you need to own the highest performing tech stock each year? Or do you need a portfolio that can fund your retirement expenses and allow you to sleep at night? Want to spend your time comparing your returns to every benchmark on Wall Street? Maybe you’d rather map out your next family road trip?
In the end, which of these makes your plan a true success?
Montgomery Gossen had some interesting thoughts on this in his blog, “Are You a Goals-Based Investor?”. To find out more about how we help clients plan for the life goals most important to them, visit our Viewpoint Planning page.