2020: Embracing the Silver Linings

As 2020 draws to a close, it’s likely that many of us are harboring a host of mixed emotions surrounding the events of the past ten months. From small business shutdowns, to the Black Lives Matter movement, to the Presidential election, 2020 has been a polarizing year. Despite living in the same pandemic-swept world, we are all having very different experiences.

In addition to physical social distancing that quite literally dictates we isolate ourselves from one another, there are currently a number of other forces pulling us apart from one another: political party affiliations, ideological differences, racial division, health concerns, and COVID-19 precautions, just to name a few. These, of course, are the heavy-hitters that have impacted our daily lives so powerfully.

In reality, though, some days we may feel isolated or distanced from others because of our heightened emotions. At moments, the sheer frustration and fatigue that accompany life transitions—learning to live differently, work virtually, or become our children’s second teachers—can wear us down and cause us to push those closest to us away.

But despite all of the dynamics working to physically and emotionally divide us, it’s certainly worth noting that these hardships have also endeared us with a number of silver linings. These silver linings (ironically enough) essentially come down to us having more opportunities to grow closer together. Our new virtual working environments and children’s remote learning situations have afforded us time luxuries with one another we previously did not have.

Without having to commute to and from the office, we are able to spend more time at home. Want to take a walk with your spouse or a friend mid-day to enjoy the brisk air of this shift to fall weather? This new atmosphere makes that possible. Want to help your child in an area of study they are struggling in? You are now more present to be able to do so.

Even though there is much to be frustrated with in 2020, we can’t forget to acknowledge what we have gained. There is no argument that longer days and more quality time with those we love are invaluable gifts that have served to bring us closer amidst so many external dividers.

Retirement Planning – The Personal Side

This new world we live in could also present somewhat of a tectonic shift for those individuals nearing retirement—and not just from a financial standpoint, but a personal one. Once you retire from your life’s work, after having diligently saved and invested for this next chapter, you should get the opportunity to truly enjoy it.

Chances are you’ve been looking forward to and planning how you will spend your retirement for decades. For many, this vision involves traveling or spending more time with children and grandchildren. But, current conditions may have you considering some adjustments.

If traveling was a major cornerstone in your retirement plans, for example, but you have health concerns that could deter you from flying, you may need to delay travel until conditions improve. If you were planning on working part-time in your early retirement years, there may not be as many positions available as there once were pre-pandemic. And of course, from a financial standpoint, you may have felt the need to delay retirement due to the market downturn in March until you were able to feel more confident you’ll have the financial resources to be able to enjoy the things you’d like to once you leave the workforce.

Financial planning for retirement is only one side of the coin when it comes to a successful retirement. Choosing activities to fill your days that bring you personal joy and fulfillment is the other. As financial planners, it is our job to align these goals to help you enjoy this time you prepared so long for. In our eyes, only addressing the financial side of retirement is like handing you a broom with half the bristles missing. Getting the job done is going to be much harder and take longer to get right when you don’t have the most efficient tools you need to succeed.

So perhaps, then, the silver lining here is that you really get the chance to re-evaluate what is important to you and decide how you will prioritize those elements in your retirement years. If you’re postponing your travel plans, perhaps there is a new hobby or interest you’ll now have the time to explore. Or, maybe you can take time to uncover some local treasures you have yet to experience. The important thing is that you have a plan, even if it has to be adjusted (which it most likely will) as both you and your retirement evolve.

At Williams Asset Management, we are here to support you through all of life’s (and the markets’) ups and downs. We won’t hand you a sub-par broom and wish for the best. We endow you with the most up-to-date, academic knowledge, tools, and guidance to increase your probability of retirement success both financially and personally.  We take great pride in seeing our clients live their best lives to and through retirement.

Brian McKinney, CFP® is a Financial Advisor with Williams Asset Management. Williams Asset Management is located at 8850 Columbia 100 Parkway, Suite 204, Columbia, MD 21045. He offers advisory services as Investment Adviser Representatives of Commonwealth Financial Network®, a Registered Investment Adviser. Fixed insurance products and services offered by Williams Asset Management. For additional information about the services of Williams Asset Management, please call (410) 740-0220 or email at Info@WilliamsAsset.com. © Williams Asset Management. For more information about Williams Asset Management, please visit www.WilliamsAssetManagement.com.

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