“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it,” said Pastor Charles R. Swindoll, founder of Insight for Living.
We are surrounded by change. But perhaps we have been never been more subjected to radical change (read: panic) as deep or dramatic as we were during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, the racial injustices that occurred, and the insurrection of January 6, 2021, when it seemed like Armageddon loomed large.
Life events dare you to leave your comfort zones. There are times when you feel you will never return to what once was or have what you once had. That was the ultimate concern people had regarding their health, their jobs and their investments.
An Event or a Crisis?
The S &P 500 lost more than 15% in an agonizing decline on March 11 and 12. The index plummeted more than 30% by March 23. After March 2020, however, the stock market soared while America struggled, giving the words “the stock market is NOT the economy” true meaning.
Perhaps even more surprising than the fall was the market rebound that followed, thanks to monetary and fiscal policy and including the programs from the Federal Reserve.
Pastor Swindoll’s words prefaced his larger point: that life events are filled with milestone events that can dominate your life and ultimately your financial decisions.
It is precisely during times like these that the relationship you have with your financial advisor is tested and defined by how you both manage events or crises.
If you hired the right people to help you achieve your goals – and you would have done that with a Hefren-Tillotson financial professional – apart from the pandemic, you would have already determined and mapped out your goals at the onset of your relationship. You would have also mapped out the “what-if” scenarios that actually became a harsh reality.
It is the professional advisor or team’s responsibility to help you through any event or crisis and continue onward toward what you set out to do and when you want to get there. MASTERPLAN® made it so you didn’t really need to worry about the markets.
How Do You Handle Life Events?
Life events are also discussed in terms of stress. Any major event that affects interpersonal relationships can cause immense stress. The more change going on in your life, the more potential stress you’re exposed to. Of course, everyone’s stress tolerance is different.
Even subtle losses in life can trigger a sense of grief. For example, you might grieve after moving away from home, graduating from college, or changing jobs. Whatever your loss, it’s personal to you. The only thing others can do for you is support you.
The death of a spouse is at the top of the list, according to Psychology Today. There is no normal timetable for grieving and personal pain rarely subsides. Coping takes over.
The best way to beat stress is to improve your ability to respond to it by accessing the power of your inner resources. As you know, prolonged stress is dangerous because it affects your immune system and the way you fight the germ invaders.
One way to relieve stress is to receive reassurance from those you trust. Hefren-Tillotson advisors contacted every one of their clients during the pandemic. And they did it from their homes, not from their offices.
During the pandemic, did your current financial advisor do these things?
- Communicate clearly, decisively and frequently with you
- Continue to set realistic expectations at a time of major uncertainty
- Take control of the situation and exhibit dependability and confidence
You cannot control the weather, the stock market, a pandemic, interest rates, injury, sickness or death: yours or anyone else’s. Don’t stress over what you cannot control.
You can control taxes, getting married, divorced, having a baby, buying a new home, moving to a new location, getting a better job, a new car, investing wisely for the future, donating to charity and worthy legal causes, and planning your estate for those you love when you die, among dozens and dozens of other things. You get the idea.
It’s All in How You Handle Things
- Acknowledge your angst and your pain
- Accept that unexpected emotions can be triggered by grief
- Understand that your grieving process is unique to you
- Seek out face-to-face support from people who care about you and whom you trust
- Support yourself emotionally by taking care of yourself physically
- Recognize the difference between grief and depression
At Hefren-Tillotson we are always here to help, to answer your questions, and to provide you with clear and unbiased advice and information. If you need help contact us today.