Hillary or Trump: Stop Worrying About Things Your Can’t Control

“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.” – Epictetus

Almost every appointment ends the same these days. “Do you think we should do something with our investments in case (Trump or Hillary) wins?”

Given that I don’t have a clue which candidate will win nor what their victory would do to the stock market, I always reply that we shouldn’t make any moves. However, the question reminds me of my old mentor, Bert Whitehead.

Bert argued that one of the key reasons for what he called Financial Dysfunction (and personal dysfunction for that matter) was that people tended to believe that exogenous factors (those factors that are externally generated, such as interest rates or the price of oil) are more important than endogenous factors (those factors that internally generated in their lives, such as how much they earn, how much debt they are carrying and their relationships with others).

He joked that this was simply a fancy way of saying you are in control of your financial destiny even though it doesn’t appear to be that way in the midst of all the distractions that swirl around us every day. Bert argued that once people understood that they were in control, that what they do will have much more of an influence on their future than all of the things going on outside of their control, they start to make rapid progress toward financial freedom.

Bert even put together a nice little quiz to show people how much control they have over their financial lives. Why don’t you take it now?

Financial Future Quiz

Which of the following do you think will most impact your financial future?

Column A                                                                                  Column B

Interest Rates                                       or                         Keep Your Taxes as Low Possible

Your Specific Mutual Funds               or                         Being Diversified and Sticking to the                                                                                           Plan

Inflation                                               or                         Being a Wise Shopper

Industry/Technological Changes         or                         Improving Your Skills/Networking

The Political Climate                           or                        The Stability of Your Relationships

Globalization                                       or                         Purchasing the Right Home

Investment Returns                              or                        How Much You Save for Retirement

As you can see, you have more control over your financial future than outside forces, so stop worrying about the election. Whatever the results, you will have the power to deal with them, just as you have the power to deal with every other exogenous factor.

About Mark Helm, CFP, EA

Mark Helm is a Certified Financial Planner and Enrolled Agent. He is the founder of Helm Financial Advisors, LLC, a fee-only financial planning firm dedicated to helping people reach their life goals.
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