By Erin Botsford, CFP, CRPC
Coming from a Barron’s Top 100 Financial Advisor and not a medical doctor, this question may seem out of place, but stay with me. I can’t tell you how often I sit with someone at my conference room table and I think – oh no – it is happening again! What I call “defensive amnesia” strikes. The good news is it is almost curable. The bad news is you may have it and not know it. Let’s take a quick assessment to see if your summer could be starting with a case of amnesia.
Here are a few questions that I think are a good starting point for your self-assessment:
- Did you come up with “must do” items in your planning after you had a loved one die suddenly or get ill, but those once very urgent to-do items are far from the top of your to-do list today?
- Did you vow “never again” after feeling like the wind was knocked out of you when you received your unprotected investment statements back in 2008. You told yourself you would make sure your investments would be positioned so that type of crazy downward nosedive would never happened again, but you have yet to change your investments and/or your advisor on those accounts?
- Have you after a near miss car accident (or maybe it wasn’t a miss, but it could have been so much worse!) or after hearing of a friend who is getting sued, you said to yourself, “I really need to make sure I’m protected so that a single moment can’t strip away my lifetime of works in an instant” but you have yet to do an assessment to see which of your assets are protected and what planning could be done to protect the rest?
- After filing your tax return or your extension this year, did you have a knot in your stomach as you write that check? Did you wonder if you are missing something and feel you are paying too much in taxes, BUT you have not gotten around to analyzing it and seeking expert opinions?
If you answered YES to any of these questions, you may be dealing with what I call “defensive amnesia.” Now keep in mind, my degree is in ________, which is far from a medical degree. but I HAVE been a student of human behavior in my three decades in this business. It seems God has purposely wired us to be selective in memory when it comes to “unhappy” events. I think it is the reason a woman can have more than one child – her memory allows her to focus on the good and puts the pain of that childbirth on the backburner in her brain. I feel this can be the same in your financial world as well. It seems it is natural to forget how bad the two major market crashes were that we have seen over the last couple of decades because we must have confidence and move forward to avoid burying our head in the sand in fear, BUT this “defensive amnesia” is also what can put you at extreme risk. I don’t know if defensive amnesia has a strong hold on you, but I can tell you the planning process we take our clients through will uncover it if you have it and in almost all cases, cure it as well! Our questions-based collaborative planning process and our proprietary Lifestyle Driven Investing uncover the potential risks and also focus on maximizing opportunities. If you are a client of ours, regardless if you are a 30-year Botsford Financial family veteran or one of our newest family members, you probably remember experience that “ah-ha” moment. If you are not a client of ours, consider investing an hour of your time with one of our advisors. Our consultation is always complimentary, and our advice is always customized to your unique situation. We would love to help you see if you have any blind spots on the risks and uncover together any missed opportunities that you may not see in front of you.