I watched an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast recently on YouTube. One of the guests, a public intellectual with a popular podcast of his own, spoke of the desire to arrange society to maximize what he referred to as, “human wellbeing” and “human flourishing.” I think most people would agree that sounds like a worthwhile goal.
What was most interesting to me was that he explained a simple heuristic, that is, a way of thinking, on how best to achieve that goal. He said that when politicians are considering policy decisions, they should do so while imagining they have no idea where on the socioeconomic ladder they would fall, in that system.
In other words, how would we want society to be set up if we thought we might be poor, or a minority, or of advanced age, or sick? I had never considered that before and I found it compelling to be exposed to that way of viewing things.
As is so often the case, that got me thinking about my financial planning practice and how this idea could be used to improve our process. What would we want our financial plan to look like if we had no idea at all what would happen in the future? This is a great question to ask, by the way, because we do not have a clear picture of what will happen in the future!
We generally assume the future will resemble, at least to some extent, the past. I agree with this. But which past?
Would it be the past from ten years ago, when the U.S. stock market dropped approximately 65%, from late 2007 to early 2009, only to go on a ten-year bull run until today?
Or will it be the past from the 1970s, when taxes were stratospheric and the market and economy were stagnant for that decade.
Perhaps it will look like the past from the Great Depression era, when the stock market crashed and took 20 some odd years to fully recover.
Or, the period after world War II when our national debt to GDP ratio was similar to today and the highest income tax rates were over 90%?
Or will it be something we have not seen up to this point and 30 years from now people will be citing this era’s unique economic characteristics and results?
We do not know.
I believe, the best plan is one that will work under the broadest spectrum of life and economic outcomes. One that may provide, for ourselves and those we love, protection, diversification, balance and bounty.
Human wellbeing, in the world of 2020AD, as was the case in the world of 2020BC, will depend largely on our accumulation of and access to resources. Put simply, our financial plan will be an important component of our quality of life. Therefore, we would be well served to choose a plan that is designed to reward and protect us, to the extent possible, against the unknown.
If you like the idea of working toward gaining the confidence that proper planning can provide, consider working with a financial planner you trust to help. We can work together toward making your dream of flourishing, both now and in the future, a reality.
The future waits for no one. It becomes the present sooner than we would like to think. Take action now. You will be glad you did.
Scott R. McGimpsey November 30th, 2019
This material was prepared by Scott McGimpsey and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources, however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Neither Cetera Advisor Networks LLC or Scott McGimpsey is engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professionally services. If such assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal, state, or municipal tax penalty. Moreover, a diversified portfolio does not assure a profit or assure protection against loss in a declining market. All investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. There is no assurance that any investment strategy will be successful.