Among the many things that occur for me between the year-end and the year-beginning is the review of what I call my financial recipe. The ingredients of this recipe include my budget (actual and planned), my philanthropic contributions (actual and planned), the income forecast for the coming year, tax preparation, and an examination of the alignment of my values with my money. As with any recipe, the ingredients are all mixed up and baked together: the past year with the new year, the personal expenses with the professional expenses, the expected budget with the actual balance sheet, and the intellectual with the emotional. It is the latter – the realistic versus the irrational – that always catches me by surprise.
“Volatility is back,” a Portfolio Manager from First Fiduciary Trust declared at a business lunch last week. She, and the subsequent panel speakers, were talking about the recent plunges and surges in the stock market. After more than a year of rising stock prices and very low (if any) volatility in the market, the last couple of weeks have proven that those calm waters may be a thing of the past. Uncertainty once again rules the market, and therefore our financial wellbeing.
The tagline of my business is “Your values, vision, and money,” which makes the first question I ask my clients natural and obvious: “What are your values?” Ah, you say, what do you mean by values? Values are the fundamental beliefs a person holds, which can serve as a guiding force in one’s life.