Product, Process, Goals, and Purpose

Recently, I’ve had an increase in conversations with clients asking “Where do we go from here?”  With News Media hammering away about what the Federal Reserve is going to do next with inflation, the falling stock market, inflation, or whatever the headline of the day is, you might be feeling like many other investors.  Fear may be starting to take hold and ideas around abandoning your plan or changing your goals might sound like a reasonable course of action.

It’s easy to see how many investors are tricked into the act of focusing on the wall of worry in front of them.  When I started my career as a Financial Advisor, I thought that this was where it started for everyone and I had the “Product” that would help people overcome their fears.  If I could just show them how my widget was better than the widget they were currently using then they would see that hiring me was a good choice.  While this worked at first it wasn’t a good long-term solution for my clients. 

As I gained experience and knowledge I grew confident in my process.  I believed (and still do) that my investment process could stand against anyone else’s and that’s what people wanted to see.  Having the ability to show a superior process to as many people as possible was surely what people needed so they could overcome their financial fears.  So I built this process and began to show how I selected my investments, how I reviewed my selections and how I would decide which to include in a portfolio and which to remove.  This was of interest to some but most just wanted to know that I had some kind of process and not just throwing “darts at a board”.

Goals, this was the answer to all fears in the financial world.  Have you ever sat done with someone you’re looking to hire and they’ve asked “What are your goals?”  My experience with this question has been an interesting one.  One of three things happens when I ask this question.  Mostly, I would get a blank stare, or I’m asked what I mean.  Other times I’ll get “I have no idea.”  Or “I haven’t really thought about it”.  Occasionally, I’ll get “To make more money!”.  I’m sure you can see how none of these answers are sufficient in helping to reach their desired financial outcomes. 

I had a light bulb moment when I started asking myself why people often shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to investing.  If you’ve followed us any length of time then you have surely heard us talk about how investors over time underperform the stock market.  Time and time again investors tend to sell low and buy high which we know is the complete opposite of what we should do.  I realized that the answer was a simple one-word question “WHY?” or to use another word, Purpose.  What was the purpose of what we were doing?  What is the purpose of saving, investing, budgeting or spending?  No matter what the fear we could always fall back on the “Why”.  This is a deeper conversation about money and investing.  The Purpose is the cornerstone that we can build a Financial Plan on, a solid foundation to work from and to stand firm on when times get rough.  The purpose is your story, who, and what is important to you. 

What’s interesting is Purpose can answer questions about Goals, Process, and Product.  When these seem to not be working then Purpose helps us to maintain a proper perspective and can keep us from harmful behaviors.   Knowing your Purpose can help you to have confidence in the plan and that this plan was built for you.  Does your plan include your Purpose or your Why?  If not, then maybe it’s time to speak to your Financial Advisor about how to make this the cornerstone of your Financial Plan.

Nelson Negron
Financial Advisor
Provident Oak Financial, LLC

Investment advice offered through OneAscent Financial Services, LLC, d/b/a Provident Oak Financial, LLC, a Registered Investment Adviser with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Registration as an investment adviser does not imply any certain degree of skill or training.