Broker Check
Obstacles or Opportunities

Obstacles or Opportunities

June 30, 2023

It has been said that Those who believe they can do something and those who believe they can’t are both right. What engineering, technological, or medical breakthrough could have been accomplished without someone believing it could be done?

I believe obstacles and opportunities also share a relationship. No one likes it when things are difficult. But it is that difficulty that creates opportunity. We all know that doctors tend to be high earners. Most of us are also aware of the status conferred on them by society.

Many people would love to be a high status/high earning doctor. The reason most do not become one is because it is extraordinarily challenging and time-consuming. As they say, if it were easy, everyone would do it. Paradoxically, if everyone could become a doctor it would cease to be high status and high earning.  When you think about it, the obstacles are the opportunity.

In the same vein, owning a successful business can be personally and financially rewarding. Most businesses, however, do not endure. I believe one reason is that people begin them without fully understanding what they are getting themselves into.

I think we have all fantasized about being our own boss so we could give ourselves time off whenever we like. Anyone running an even moderately successful business can tell you that is the exact opposite of the reality.

To have a prayer of success you must be on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Most folks find that level of ever-present responsibility, not to mention work, difficult to maintain and impossible to enjoy. For those willing to sacrifice most of their lives, the obstacles create opportunities.

The message here is that much of what is and is not accomplished in our lives has less to do with our reality than what we tell ourselves about our reality. I often speak with people about their long-term financial goals and nearer term objectives. They “know they need to do something” and genuinely intend to.  But they do not always follow through. Why?

I believe there are a number of reasons but two stand out. First, life demands time and commitment but offers lots of exciting and interesting diversions. In addition to all our work responsibilities, we have our children’s ball games and recitals, maybe we are buying a new home or considering renovations on our current one, and there is that vacation coming up, family or high school reunion, and an almost endless number of great books, movies, and TV shows to catch up on. Of course, all these things require our time and attention.

The second and less obvious obstacle is related to an unfortunate mindset. I cannot tell you how many times I have worked with people on their personal financial plan and heard them state some variation of the following:

“Okay, so out of my income I am going to give you X amount of money to invest, and I get to keep the rest?”

My response is always the same:

“No, you get to keep all the money you make, all the money you save, and all the money you make from what you’ve saved. It’s all yours!”

They always laugh because they realize the truth of it. But the exchange is telling because it speaks to how the thought of saving feels to us. Our logical mind knows what we should do but at some level, saving feels like an obstacle to be accepted, bartered with, or overcome; rather than an opportunity to make our lives better now and in the future.

When we are saving, we are taking a portion of our current income to ensure the good times will last our whole lives. Of course, we also gain some other wonderful benefits such as the ability to look after those we love and an enormous uptick in peace of mind.

Hamlet said “…for there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” I do not agree. There are matters of opinion and those of empiricism. Illness is bad, financial security is good.

Those who put off planning often do so because, deep down, they view saving as an obstacle to their enjoyment of life. Then there are those who truly understand that effective planning is an opportunity to keep life enjoyable forever. Take advantage of it.

If you would like help in constructing a plan that is right for you, consider working with a financial planner you trust and take action.


Scott R. McGimpsey June 30th, 2023

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 nor 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. UNIFIED PLANNING GROUP is an independent firm.