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Wealth Management

It’s Not Just About the Money

By Pat Grenier

We have a well laid out plan for how our wealth-building investment portfolios will provide us with the lifestyle we want, confidence in our financial strategy that we believe we deserve, and the legacy we want to leave our loved ones.

Inflation, rising interest rates, high gas prices, the war in Ukraine are non-trivial distractions that test our ability to stay calm and focused. As Mike Tyson once said, “everyone has a plan ‘till they get punched in the mouth.”

Pat Grenier

Pat Grenier

For many depending on their 401k plans, their IRAs and/or their investments, this is a gut-wrenching feeling. It certainly is painful to watch the value of our monies depreciate — especially in an inflationary environment. Emotions can take over and cause anxiety, nervousness, and fear. You are not alone. These feelings are real and may drive the person into a decision that may be irrational, absolutely the wrong one at the wrong time.

Until we address these feelings with facts and common sense, we will not be able to make rational decisions about our investments and the impact it will have on our lives.

As a start, let’s put the current market environment in perspective. As with any market decline, we don’t know when it will hit bottom or how long it will take for markets to come back. What we do know, and history has proven, is that market corrections occur periodically and have been short-lived:

 

As much as anyone would like to avoid these declines, they are an inevitable part of investing.

Looking back at the 15 largest single-day percentage losses in the S&P 500 since 1960, we see that investors are rewarded for staying the course:

Warren Buffett said it best “American magic has always prevailed, and it will do so again.” Can you think of a year where there was not an event that had a negative impact on the economy and investments? It is reassuring to know that despite these annual headwinds, the U.S. economy is resilient and has always recovered.

As much as the fearmongers want us to believe the world is falling apart, we should know better than to listen to the 24/7 negative news cycles. For our own sanity, we need to focus on the positive. Our economy continues to open after the closures due to the Covid pandemic, there are plenty of jobs for anyone that needs one and consumers are still spending. To our surprise many corporations for the first quarter of this year reported higher-than- expected earnings. In addition, in spite of higher mortgage interest rates, pending home sales rose in May. This should provide us with optimism for the economy, even if the ride is bumpy.

Famed British Banker, Sir Baron Nathan Rothchild, is credited with the phrase “buy on the sound of canons, sell on the sound of trumpets.” The old adage ‘buy low and sell high’ makes sense but is one of the most difficult principles to follow and act upon.

Markets decline on negative news. The negativity creates fear, but the decline presents an opportunity to reassess our investments, our allocation, our risk tolerance and to take advantage of quality investments that may have been beyond our reach. If time is on your side, buying on sale makes sense.

It is not just about the money. Investing is about having the right frame of mind to make our money work efficiently and effectively.

 

Pat Grenier, CFP® is president and founder of Springfield-based Grenier Financial Services; (413) 736-6712; [email protected]

Securities and advisory services offered through Cadaret Grant & Co., an SEC Registered Investment Advisor and member FINRA/SIPC. Grenier Financial Advisors and Cadaret Grant are separate entities.

Modern Office

Small Steps for Big Wins

By Sarah Rose Stack

Sarah Rose Stack

Sarah Rose Stack

Work-life balance in 2020 has been different, to say the least. And many people have unexpectedly found themselves in a new office … at home. This trend does not seem to be going away. In fact, many businesses plan to extend their work-from-home policies through the end of the year and are considering more permanent work-from-home plans.

If you are working from home, the expectation is that you are working from home. However, if you are not accustomed to this new environment, it can be tricky to perform to your fullest potential while also maintaining work-life balance. You and your employees may need to take additional steps to invest in overall well-being in order to remain effective at work.

Here are some things to think about, focusing on healthy mind, body, and spirit.

Mind

Staying focused and on task is key for productivity. Keep your mind clear and focused. To do that:

• Take a Break. Step away from screens occasionally. Don’t forget to give yourself a few minutes throughout the day to recharge in the same way that you would if you were in the office.

• Fully Participate. Nothing will help you enjoy your time off more then a job well done during your time on. Be engaged during meetings. Put your full workday in. Remain committed to your mission and vision while working. Your mind will appreciate the normalcy, you will do better work, and you will find it easier to turn off your work at the end of the day.

• Schedule Tasks, but Set Limits. Stay organized and on task by being clear about how you will spend your time. Schedule appointments with yourself to complete work. Limit tasks based on how much time it would normally take to complete them in the office.

• Set Ground Rules with Your New ‘Colleagues.’ If you are working remotely due to COVID-19, chances are that there are more people hunkered down at home too. To stay productive and avoid frustration, communicate with your family about boundaries so that you minimize interruptions and distractions.

• Set Up Your Home Office. Remember your first day of work, when you brought in a box of favorite things to keep you inspired and productive? Take some time to set up your new dedicated home-office space. Keep your work area organized and separate from your ‘life’ area. Even setting up a simple desk or table in a dedicated space will help you get into work mode when it is time. It can also prevent your work from overrunning your kitchen, living room, bedroom, or all of the above.

Body

Working — and doing everything else — at home can leave us feeling sluggish. Stay energized to feel and do your best.

• Take a Walk. If you’re taking a 10-minute break, don’t waste it scrolling on your phone. Go outside and take a walk. The combination of sunlight, fresh air, change of scenery, and movement can give you an injection of energy to get back at it.

• Stand Up. On a conference call or virtual meeting? Stand up or even walk or pace during the call. The walk can increase your focus, and you can also get some exercise at the same time.

• Try Yoga to Increase Focus. Did you know certain yoga poses may increase focus and concentration? Try yoga in the morning before work, or mid-afternoon to increase your focus and stay active. Poses for focus include tree, eagle, warrior III, half-moon, dancer, extended hand to toe, side plank, crow, and headstand.

• Choose Healthy Snacks and Meals. With a full range of access to unlimited food and snacks, it can be easy to fall off track and overdo it on the junk food. This obviously can lead to fatigue and become problematic if it becomes habitual. Maintaining a healthy diet with good portions will keep you fueled and energized.

• Drink More Water. Keeping hydrated is critical for well-being. Again, with full access to your kitchen, you may be prone to drink more sugary drinks, coffee, or soda than you normally would. Or you may not be taking in as much water as you usually do. Keep a water glass at your desk (but not near electronics) so you can stay hydrated throughout the day.

Spirit

Acknowledge emotions that are coming up as you navigate a new work situation and then take steps to redirect the narrative.

• Practice Gratitude. Showing appreciation can help you feel more positive emotions. Thank your colleagues when they help you with something. Take a moment to be grateful for the opportunity to work from home right now. Studies show that people who feel and express gratitude generally have a greater level of happiness.

• Go Outside. During social distancing, you can still leave your home to go for a walk or simply enjoy a cup of coffee on the porch. Research has shown that going outside can improve your short-term memory, restore mental energy, relieve stress, improve concentration, and increase your creativity.

• Stay Connected to Colleagues. While you can’t swing by a co-worker’s office to chit-chat, you can take a few minutes each day to connect. Whether it’s a private Facebook group, Teams, or group chat, take some time to check in. Talk. Laugh a little. Share photos, comments, and videos. Motivate each other to do great work together. Staying connected keeps us together while we’re apart.

Healthy Perspective

Small actions that are taken consistently can add up to big results. Focus on the three big rocks and the small wins that can be achieved within them to position yourself for a healthy mind, body, and spirit while working from home … and, for that matter, working from anywhere.

As you and your employees navigate this new work-from-home environment, remember that being productive and healthy is good for business and good for people. Many find that, when they have accomplished their goals during the day, they are able to relax and enjoy their time ‘at home.’ On the contrary, if they have been distracted throughout the day, they may find that nagging feeling of work piling up and following them everywhere.

Create a dedicated space, hours, boundaries, and habits to increase effectiveness and maintain a healthy work/life balance while working from home.

Sarah Rose Stack is marketing and recruiting manager with Holyoke-based accounting firm Meyers Brothers Kalicka; (413) 322-3401.

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