Don’t Stop Believin’

Don’t Stop Believin’

The year 2019 seamlessly gave way to 2020. Many individuals around the world traveled extensively, enjoyed time with family, and grumbled about their daily commute to and from their 9-5 jobs. What happened in March significantly impacted everyone across the globe. COVID-19 traveled across the world, and life as we knew it changed in an instant. Work and schools went fully remote, commutes were now from the bedroom to your new living room office, zoom/teams arose (who had heard of zoom before 2020…be honest), jobs were lost for millions of Americans, restaurants closed, and last, but not least, childcare became scarce in America.

2020 created multiple levels of physical, financial, and especially mental exhaustion. A change of the work and family dynamic placed parents and children around a dining room table all working side by side. Early in the year we wondered when this would all be over?

A common phrase, according to the wonderful band Journey, was “Don’t Stop Believin’” …

… in the midst of a global pandemic what is there to believe in?

Believe in controlling what we can control: quality of family time, reconnecting with loved ones, zoom time with distant friends, checking in on the mental health of the elderly, letting isolated individuals know that they are not alone. Throughout the year isolation and a total halt in society gave way to more clarity, to scientific developments, and to hope because the medical community chose to not stop believin’.

Life before 2020 was a fast paced, instant gratification society. One thing 2020 taught me was to slow down, be grateful for what I have, and control what I can control.

So heading into 2021, what can you control?

As the article “Tiny Changes Can Help You Achieve Savings Goals for Retirement” says: “One reason we are hesitant to make small changes is that they seem so ineffective and minor,” he said. “It feels like, ‘What’s the point? It’s not going to amount to anything.’ But when you understand compounding, you realize that something that happens habitually can add up.”

Here’s a suggestion for those planning to make big changes in the new year: Consider making them small instead.   Try focusing in on any of these areas:

-Physical, Mental, and Financial Health

-Quality of time with family/ loved ones

-Support Charities

-Connect with Family and Friends

-Family Budgets: balance the spending

-Build a rainy-day fund

-Review all of the listservs and subscriptions that show up on the bills each month

-Refinance the home/credit card debt

-Analyze your financial plan

-Review savings rates

-Review your investments: Diversification is key because these rotational shifts we are now seeing are happening so quickly. Diversification needs to happen not just across sectors, but also across geographies and within asset                            classes

-Rebalance your existing investments

-Have the “money talk” with loved ones

-And last but certainly not least: Celebrate the wins throughout the year…no matter how big or small

“Focus on how the small steps you are taking now will add up to something substantial over time,” said Ramit Sethi, author of “I Will Teach You to Be Rich.”

Finally, always remember that no matter how many curveballs life may throw our way, as it did in the year 2020, “Don’t Stop Believin’” …for 2021 is a new year, and we can focus on controlling what we can control to make it a great one!

Written by:  Justin D. Hamlin, CFP ®

These are the opinions of Justin Hamlin and not necessarily those of Cambridge, are for information purposes only, and should not be construed or acted upon as individualized investment advice.  Investing involves risk.  Depending on the types of investments, there may be varying degrees of risk.  Investors should be prepared to bear loss, including total loss of principal.  The strategies discussed herein are not designed based on the individual needs of any one specific client or investor.  In other words, it is not a customized strategy designed on the specific financial circumstances of the client.  However, prior to opening an account, Cambridge will consult with you to determine if your financial objectives are appropriate for investing in the model.  You are also provided the opportunity to place reasonable restrictions on the securities held in your account.