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All About the plan

Staying true to financial plans in turbulent times

Why is it — that when we are referring to the city just south of Jacksonville on Florida’s Atlantic coast —that we say “AUGH-uhs-teen”, and when we are referring to the 400 A.D. theologian and philosopher we say “uh-GUS-tin”? Perhaps because we speak neither Latin nor Spanish, but once again, these sorts of things may interest only me. And I am prone to digression as you know… even before the foundation is in place.

But I will report to you that that august personae known as Augustine of Hippo (doesn’t that sound like a Henny Youngman joke?) once wrote:

“…as though I sensed the fragrance of the fare but was not yet able to eat it.” –Augustine, Confessions

I purposefully give you but a snippet of the quote; if you are interested, you can easily find the greater portion with its deep theological implications. You can even read all thirteen books of his Confessions if you are so motivated — I’d be pleased to know if you were. Report back on that, would you?

As for today, we will content ourselves with the snippet given above. I respectfully submit to you that this quote can be applied to virtually all life’s endeavors. And despite my best efforts to distract you with stories to inspire wisdom, mirth and introspection — I am a financial advisor, after all. Thus, we can also relate this nugget of wisdom to the management of wealth… and the exhaustion it sometimes brings especially when times are rough.

The meaning of Augustine’s saying

Let’s review the passage again: “…as though I sensed the fragrance of the fare but was not yet able to eat it.” I love that imagery. I see a person just outside of their home. It’s holiday time. Perhaps there are family members gathered there, and he or she can smell the holiday meal almost ready for the table. In our time and place, it would be the turkey and dressing or the ham with its spices. The smell of fall apples and cinnamon — and fruit pies for dessert — drift about. But the man or woman does not feel comfortable entering the house. Perhaps he or she has become estranged from their family, maybe it is due to a minor spat that morning. Is it because they have been away and are no longer sure of their place? Is he or she poorly attired or hasn’t had access to a bath or shower during hard times?

If you think about it too deeply, it will break your heart, I tell you. The feast and all the joy that comes with it is set to begin and the joyful noises are ringing, smells are wafting. Our intrepid sojourner is on the brink of delightful immersion, but finds themselves wanting, turning away to misery and wretchedness.

What if sticking to your financial plans feels too difficult?

You may be at a point in your financial journey where you feel much the same. It’s my feeling that investing can be accomplished successfully by mastering a few simple habits defined by words: Frugal, Humble, Disciplined, Faithful, Consistent, Honest, Effort, and Diligence to name a few.

But there’s the rub.

What if we think we can’t?

Does this crazy world, dominated by incessant digital noise and its ups and downs make it feel simply too hard to keep pressing on? Perhaps it’s just no longer enjoyable. Or, “success is not a permanent condition” is ringing a little too accurately at this point in your journey.

What to do when you’re tempted to lose hope

My advice to you? Stick to the plan. Seasons come and seasons go — seasons of wealth, and seasons of want alike. At this season in your life, take a little encouragement from me, if you will.

You know your financial plans; you know the tasks required. (If you don’t, there are caring advisors who can help set you on your way.) To this, then — add the knowledge that yes, you can move forward and partake of the upcoming celebration. You’ve spent your whole life getting here — enjoy this waystation along the journey now that you’ve arrived.

October 2019

Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.