What do “thanksgivings” have to do with financial planning? | Guest column

Many of us associate November with Thanksgiving. This year’s Thanksgiving will be one unlike any of us have ever known given the COVID-19 situation.

It is unfortunate that we have not been able to materially reduce COVID, and with colder weather coming, case counts are expected to rise. But in thinking about November “thanksgivings,” despite COVID, I believe there are a number of things for which we can be thankful.

To name a couple, we have made significant strides in medical treatments for COVID which is helping to save lives and reduce the fatality rate. There are also several promising vaccine candidates that are expected to be ready within months which should help combat the spread of COVID. The analytic and design capabilities of modern bio and genomic technology are truly amazing and are helping us to rapidly address and better cope with many diseases, including viruses. We can certainly be thankful for how quickly our biotechnology industry has been able to speed development of a vaccine for COVID.

But what do “thanksgivings” have to do with financial planning? As it benefits clients, I think these “thanksgivings” have quite a bit to do with financial planning. As planners, we have a number of advanced planning tools that harness the power of computer technology to provide more detailed, thorough, and useful financial plans. The power of these tools also allows us to run multiple scenarios that can bring increased clarity to the client’s situation. As planners, we are thankful for the power of these tools that enable us to provide better services and solutions to our clients and greatly help improve their lives.

As part of a financial plan, we also help our clients in setting an investment strategy that improves the odds of achieving their financial goals. The long-established functioning and role of our capital markets enables this by allowing us as planners to provide a wide array of equity and fixed income investments that represent the financial underpinning a financial plan. These investments include stocks for growth and bonds for income and risk mitigation. As planners, we are thankful for functioning and liquid capital markets in our country that allow us to obtain the most optimal investments in helping clients achieve their goals.

Finally, we also associate November with elections. With this I mind, we need to be thankful for our democracy that allows each of us to have a voice in determining our elected officials and having some impact on the direction of our country’s future. Importantly, our functioning democracy provides the philosophical foundation for not only free enterprise and business formation but also for a free capital market system that has for over 200 years provided opportunity for growth of wealth through sound long-term investing.

Robert Toomey, CFA/CFP, is Vice President of Research for S. R. Schill & Associates on Mercer Island.