Change is the Only Certainty
By: David Smyth, August 27, 2020
The Smyth boys are back in school, and in the Smyth household it looked like this: One freaked out because he couldn't find the Zoom login information for his very first class. After the freakout was over, he did manage to find the credentials with two minutes to spare. Crisis averted.
The second child complained that he had stress burps. Apparently a nervous stomach gave him a sour throat. Tums took care of that, and at the end of the day, he announced that he thought this was going to be a really good year.
Which brings us to the youngest. He told his mom that his tummy didn't feel good, so she put him on Zoom with a bucket nearby, you know, just in case. Well, as the other kids were talking, he got so nervous he actually did throw up - on camera! As his mom tried to stop the video and get the bucket out of the room, her stomach turned and she had to run out! Happy first day of first grade, right?! His first assignment was to draw a picture of the day, which is shown below for your enjoyment. (Yes, I'll be framing this one!)
Back to school certainly looks a little different this year, with lots of trepidation about how everything will work. In my house, we're ready for some structure. For those of you with younger kids in primary school, my heart goes out to you, as it will be challenging to keep them on schedule while you're working. There's no easy way around any of this.
Typically when the kids go back to school, it's a great time for parents to refocus on their financial plans and goals for the year. We typically recommend reviewing education savings, looking at where the emergency fund is and whether it needs to be a little bigger, and we might even start a vacation fund for next summer's family adventure. Somehow, that seems a little trivial this year, and for me, it feels like we've lived through five months of Groundhog Day, as these things have been reviewed over and over again.
It's definitely still worthwhile to reach out and go over anything that's on your mind, and the number one thing I'd recommend you do while we are at a change in season - even if that means the kids are in their "school area" and on Zoom all day - is think about how Family Financial Partners could better serve you for the remainder of 2020 and beyond. How could we customize our communications with you? Would you prefer to communicate via email, or phone? We can do that.
We're also still happy to meet on a Zoom call, although I'm noticing that these days, the only people who still want to meet on Zoom are the folks who don't use Zoom for work. Our clients who spend all day on Zoom calls are more likely to want to chat on the phone so they can talk in the car, not worry about getting dressed, or whether they've just been to the gym. The point is, we're learning to be flexible in how we communicate with you.
As I have been talking with clients, I've been pleased at how many of you truly are reviewing the documents and reports we send prior to our meetings, and I've been impressed with the questions asked. It really shows comprehension and engagement with what we're doing for you and your family. As someone who prides himself on explaining things in a way that's easy to understand, it makes me feel great to know that the vast majority of you get what we're doing.
Of course we all know the 80/20 rule, and there are those of you who don't fully understand the plan we've laid out for you. Some of you have told us that that's okay, and you trust us. But some of you do have the goal of gaining a deeper understanding of what we're doing. Your back-to-school plan could be to come in and sit down with us, open your reports and statements and let us go over how to read them with you. We'll see what you do understand and what might have been lost in translation. We're always happy to do that, and I truly believe that educated clients are the happiest clients.
To sum it all up, we're really all going back to school this year, and whether we like it or not, changes are happening and we have to adapt. My questions for you are: What areas of your financial life could we most help you with? What would you like to understand better? Let us know so we can continue to deepen the relationship we have with you.