In many respects, our society values higher education and admires those who are overachievers among the ranks. Rightfully so, those individuals are often the first to arrive and last to leave. They dedicate an exurbanite amount of time to their field of study, research, and classroom. This behavioral pattern can have drawbacks:
• Time management
• Work-life balance
• Overcommitment issues
• Stress and anxiety of underperformance
• Letting those they value down in some way
In our clients, we see a common issue of overthinking. There is a thin line between analyzing and reflecting to figure out how good an idea is and spending so much time on it that it causes stress and anxiety and stops you from doing anything because you want to get it right. That's the difference between rumination and problem-solving. Problem-solving and planning are active coping strategies, while rumination involves rethinking situations, analyzing them, and replaying them without forming an action plan or feeling a sense of resolution. The goal of a financial advising team is to drastically reduce ruminating and guide you through the problem to a solution that works.
When walking through a financial difficulty or decision-making process, we tell clients they will likely go through 3 main steps to make an educated decision, regardless of the idea, strategy, or approach they are trying to overcome.
We advise clients to identify the actual problem rather than a perceived one correctly. This act starts with clearly defining the challenges and pointing out specific limitations and desired outcomes. The hard part is to devise a solution that works for them, and that's been vetted competently and thoroughly.
Clients must deploy their ideas or strategies and evaluate any material changes to the anticipated outcome. This step entails taking the vetted solution and putting it into action. This step could be enforcing a debt-reduction plan to pay off credit cards. It could be adjusting a client's 457(b) contributions to give them a head start for a problematic approaching year. Whatever the idea, it's essential to implement it at the right time and for the right reasons.
Lastly, individuals must remain consistently vigilant in evaluating the condition or situation so that direct or indirect changes can be identified, considered, and adjusted to stay on track for the outcome they are trying to achieve. This act includes reviewing existing budgets, cash-flow fluctuations, achievement of goals (i.e., renovating a kitchen, purchasing a home, or supporting children's education), and changes to investment accounts.
We encourage clients to ask themselves, "Are your goals still realistic and achievable?" "Does your strategy need to be adjusted?" "Do you need to rebalance your investment accounts?". If there is a positive impact on the household or account after implementing an idea, we can safely believe the right decision was made. However, if we find a stagnant or negative impact, we can revert to Step One and find a more efficient approach.
Our society rightly values the dedication and commitment that individuals put into their higher education and pursuits of excellence. However, this admirable pursuit can sometimes lead to challenges such as time management issues, work-life balance struggles, and the burden of overcommitment and stress. We've observed that overthinking, specifically rumination, can be a common issue among our clients, hindering their ability to make effective decisions and causing unnecessary anxiety.
As a financial advising team, our goal is to assist our clients in breaking free from the cycle of overthinking and guide them toward active problem-solving. We emphasize a three-step process: first, accurately identify the problem and devise a well-considered solution; second, implement the chosen strategy and evaluate any material changes; and finally, maintain a vigilant approach to monitor progress, adjusting as necessary to stay on track toward their financial goals.
PhDs struggle with overthinking a lot!
Some people start out on a good and solid path, but as life changes, they fail to reevaluate and make course corrections that keep them on track, and they end up off course. We understand that even those with advanced degrees, such as PhDs, can face challenges due to overthinking, and that having a trusted financial team can make a significant difference in helping them achieve their financial goals and stay on track. Ultimately, the pursuit of financial well-being is a dynamic process, and our team is here to help our clients every step of the way. A trusted team can make all the difference in the world, allowing you to end up with more.