The Benefits of Productive Work
While we are planners and not psychologists, we do have the benefit of observing the behavior patterns of a homogenous demographic group. This assists us in helping clients work through challenging times. Since we have been around over 30 years, we have observed many clients age successfully from the working years into advanced retirement.
For many years our tag line has been, “Helping busy people make smart financial decisions.” The #1 thing we have observed is that people who are busy do not have as much time to worry. In fact, because over half of our clients are physicians, we have watched some go long periods of time (sometimes – even years) without even looking at their portfolio.
Once they have put a clear plan of investing into motion in their early working years, they stay so busy with their life’s calling that they do not take the time to obsess about their portfolio. In many cases, the work of saving lives and putting in 60-80 hour weeks gives them little time to ponder anything more than family, household or the work-related crisis’ of the day. Almost like magic, when the time comes to have a serious retirement discussion, the majority of our clients are surprised at how well-positioned they are—even though they sheepishly admit they just didn’t have time to watch the markets.
Even in retirement, we notice those who have active lives are less prone to worry and obsess over world events. An article in the June 21, 2020 Parade magazine caught my attention. On the cover was a woman who at 105 years old was a competitive runner. Her name is Ida Keeling, and she holds records in 60 meter and 100 meter track and field racing for the “over 100” category. What is even more striking about Ida’s story is that she started running at age 67. In other words, when most people are slowing down, she started to speed up!
Her photo on the cover was amazing! With a big smile, soft countenance, and strong muscles, she looked decades younger than her 105 years. It occurred to me that she probably did not spend her days worrying about the stock market, political demonstrations, or which party was going to win the next election. I would like to think that she is so focused on the productive work of training for her next competition (or helping inspire others to compete); that she forgets there is a Pandemic. (After all, she already survived the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.)
Productive work can take many forms, and it does not matter what our age is, or whether there is, a paycheck attached to it or not. It could be painting a deck, planting a garden, teaching a class, mentoring others or simply preparing meals for a family. Productive work, especially when there is a specific goal related to it, keeps our brains sharp and mental thoughts from wandering into unwanted territories.
“Helping busy people make smart financial decisions,” means, among other things, that we take the vicissitudes of the market off your worry list, so that you can focus on other things—such as your own productive work and the things you can control.
Kristina Bolhouse CPA/PFS, CFP®
© 2020 The Arkansas Financial Group, Inc., All rights reserved.
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