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I Told You So

I Told You So

February 24, 2022

I Told You So

By Peter T. Waldron

Managing Partner of Waldron Partners

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” - Abraham Lincoln

              There are only a few things that I dislike about my job. One is the “I told you so” moment, which can be painful for both me and my client. I’m referring to when I tell my client over and over to do something, but they don’t follow through or heed my guidance and it comes back to bite them. While I have never been calloused or obtuse enough to point out these failures in person, this month we will go over a few of the classic moments. While this is cathartic for me, I’m also glad to have the opportunity to help you learn from the shortcomings of others.

              While we don’t draft legal documents (we leave that to attorneys like Robert Silverman), we do educate clients on designs and the various roles and responsibilities of an estate plan. Most estate plans include a document called a power of attorney. In short, this document gives someone the authority to act for another person in legal and financial matters. If someone has a health event (stroke/dementia) or is traveling overseas without a power of attorney, legal and financial actions may not be completed. The reasons most people don’t have this document is because of either the cost or the effort it takes to have it created. The fact is that for only a small cost or quick meeting you can potentially prevent chaos and stress for your spouse or children.

              Another example of an “I told you so” moment is when someone holds cash through a market cycle or pulls out of the market altogether. This is always the toughest one for us because we believe in long-term investing. Investing involves so much emotion, and people don’t always want to be guided by facts; instead, they would rather be emotionally satisfied. Although cash generates a negative real return (against inflation), holding it creates a sense of security for many. The fact is it’s nearly impossible to time the market, whether it’s on the way up or the way down. The economy and the stock market are cyclical. You are better off selecting one strategy and sticking to it for the long-term versus moving in and out of different strategies.

              The last “I told you so” item pertains to communication, especially when it comes to communicating with your family, business partners, or your charity of choice about what you are planning for transitions (retirement, gifting at death, or if you are unable to care for yourself). While there are legal documents that assist people in navigating most issues, it is best to verbally communicate with the people in your life. This can be difficult for many because we are taught and conditioned to keep money and personal matters private. In the book, “Being Mortal,” author Atul Gawande discusses the importance of conveying your death plan, which would outline specifically how you want your last days to be spent (in the event of a terminal illness). This can be adapted to the final days of your career or the first days of your retirement. Communicating your vision to others will help you refine it and help the people around you understand what you need from them. 

              While I always wish that I could do more for my clients so they might avoid the “I told you so” moments in life, the reality is that you can only do as much as someone is open to doing for themselves. We are constantly faced with deadlines, distractions, and obligations, but it is our willpower that will help us cross the finish line. Anxiety can be caused by big events or a buildup of smaller stressful life situations, so to avoid the “I told you so” moments and rid yourself of anxiety, cross some of these tasks off your list. Oh, and I hope you are all having a great summer!

“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.” - Charles Spurgeon



Peter T. Waldron: California Insurance License #0E47827

Peter T. Waldron is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors, a broker/dealer, member SIPC, and offers investment advisory services through Sagemark Consulting, a division of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a registered investment advisor, Waldron Partners, 3201 Danville Blvd., Suite 190 PO Box 528, Alamo, CA 94507.  Waldron Partners is not an affiliate of Lincoln Financial Advisors. Insurance is offered through Lincoln Marketing and Insurance Agency, LLC and Lincoln Associates Insurance Agency, Inc. and other fine companies.  This material is for use with the general public and is designed for informational or educational purposes only.  It is not intended as legal, tax or direct investment advice. Lincoln Financial Advisors does not offer legal or tax advice. CRN-3671492-071421