My wife gets frustrated by e-mail attachments. Some she can’t open, others she doesn’t want to open. Attachments are rarely satisfying and never simple. So as we head into 2016, what if your only resolution was to substitute acceptance for attachments?
If we learned anything in 2015, it is that things change — the climate, the candidates, even Miss Universe. Attachment is about resisting change; the only thing in our lives that we can count on.
Accept that the markets are going to be volatile, so don’t be attached to your portfolio totals. Develop a sound short- and long-term investment strategy that you can tolerate through good and bad times.
Accept how things are rather than being attached to how they should be. Some clients who have been responsible savers for retirement have had poor health strip away their picture of what retirement would be like. They adjusted their plans to travel more, took Social Security earlier and are spending money and time upfront because they realize they won’t need their money to last as long.
As we accept how things are, we also may find ourselves fighting over money less frequently. Those arguments are usually about attachments — to spending, to saving, to position. A spouse promised a big income year from his job and the other spouse spent according to those projections. When the year didn’t pan out, they turned on each other. Had they waited, they could have avoided some of the issues that reduced the trust in their marriage. We accept what is by making conscious spending decisions.
Accept that calm is often before a storm and most storms blow over. We get attached to how good or bad things are and think that they will stay that way. Some characteristics of our lives that won’t change unless we make a change — a high pressure job doesn’t become low pressure, but an intense period in a reasonable job is simply an intense period.
Accept that money won’t make a bad relationship good, so don’t be attached to money fixing everything. While having money makes certain things easier, it doesn’t change them. Regular meetings around money can lead to discussions about other important things. It’s the talking that’s key, not the money.
If you believe that no matter how things change that you will be able to handle it, you can be attached to making 2016 a great year.
Spend your life wisely.
Ross Levin is the founding principal of Accredited Investors Inc. in Edina.