How do you react when you see other people walking among other people while looking at their cell phone? Do you think that they should either walk or look at their phone but not at the same time? Or do you sympathize because you are guilty of the same behavior? Cell phoning while walking is one thing, but cell phoning while driving is another, more dangerous activity. With cell phones, iPads and the like, it seems that the temptation to multitask is too great to avoid. What’s worse is when people look at their phones with their ear pieces in and walk all at the same time – stay away from such offenders unless you want to get run into!
People who multitask as I describe are not bad people but they are guilty of not being self-aware. They do not consider the effect of their actions on others. Try navigating the grocery store aisles when other shoppers are unaware of their context and are thereby creating an obstacle for you. If you are in a grocery store, you should be aware that you are not the only shopper in the store and that there are other shoppers there who may pluck something from the same aisle in which you have chosen to reside. Likewise, please be courteous to other pedestrians by making sure that your actions don’t cause you to be in other people’s way. Also, don’t text and drive!
What does my point about cell phoners and slow people in the grocery store have to do with your finances and planning? Being self-aware of your current financial condition is an important starting point for making a good plan and sticking to it. The first thing you do when you make your financial plan is to do a personal audit of your current situation, including your job and the industry in which you work as well as your salary and your investment portfolio. The question you need to answer is, “Where am I at, and what do I need to do to get to where I want to be?” Your current age and your health also play an important part. For instance, a single working 40 year old might have a different financial plan and set of goals than will a married and retired couple in their 60’s. Then there is the current asset mix in your portfolio, including in your retirement plan. Perhaps you decided to be 80% in stocks 2 years ago, but now you are 90% in stocks because your stocks have outperformed other assets in your portfolio and now you are 2 years older. If so, perhaps you should reassess your portfolio so that it is commensurate with your current situation.
I say all of this, but you can also go too far with the self awareness. For instance, stocks have been hit so far in 2022 and Treasury bond yields have gone up. If you are too much in tune with your current situation, perhaps this mini-correction in stocks causes you to want to sell and head for safety, if such a place exists. There is a happy medium between being too aware of current market conditions and taking more of a patient approach with your plan. Be aware, but not too much, and if you are on top of the markets on a daily basis, don’t allow the roller coaster market to deter you from executing your financial plan.
The same people who you see multitasking with their phones probably also go to yoga class. One of the important tenets of yoga is being present in the moment and being aware of your body. Perhaps these multi-taskers believe that yoga is their penance for being torn in many ways with the rest of their endeavors. When it comes to your personal finances, my recommendation is that you be more Namaste and less frazzled, unless you want to remain frazzled for many years to come.