How Can Stress Affect Your Retirement Decisions? – Finger Financial Five #46

“Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.” – Plato

Good times can cover up mistakes people are making just as stressful times can turn small problems into a large one. Let me explain…

I went for a 100 miles training ride last week.  I had in my car a cooler packed with PB&J, chips (for salt), and Gatorade. My friend, Greg, and I left at 4a, so we would not have much traffic. My thinking was we would be circling back toward my house every hour so I could refuel.  I was wrong.  We rode into a heavy wind from my house in Myrtle Beach, to the point in Garden City and back.  Round trip was about 3 hours and 43 miles.  

We did it, but not as well as we should.  

Here are a list of mistakes and how they can relate financially:

  • Not knowing the route, we were going.  I did not have enough liquids for a long hard trip like that. I should have communicated with Greg, knew the plan, and prepared accordingly. Financial equivalent: Not knowing what my retirement goals are. 
  • I was very thirsty and hungry when I got back to my car.  I gulped down liquids and my sandwich way too fast. My coach said chew your liquids and drink your solids.  This is good for digestion.  I did nothing like that, and I threw my coaching plan out the window because of the stress.  Financial Equivalent: Investing outside of my comfort zone or risk tolerance.   Not having enough cash cushion in case of emergency.  Making decisions when physically and emotionally stressed.    
  • I felt good that morning but rode way too fast too early.  This is an Ironman, not a sprint.  Overexerting myself early cost me later.  Financial equivalent: Being too aggressive. Spending too much money now, may cost you down the road. Trying to “get rich quick” (finish the ride early) instead of thinking long term. Instead, get rich   s l o w l y.  Enjoy the process.  Enjoy the ride.  Sometimes you are going downwind, but sometimes you have to ride into it.  Winds change.  Prepare for that.  

In other words, thinking about tax planning, distribution planning, asset location, efficient withdrawals, will make you lighter, so you can go faster or at same speed with less effort.  However, this does NOT mean that you won’t ever face a choppy market, tax, or inflationary headwind.  You’ll still be better off than you would otherwise.  It’s not the upside that make the difference, it’s the steadiness in the headwinds; in the “not going backward” when the crap hits the fan.  Backward does NOT mean your investments won’t ever go down.  They will and be prepared for that, so when they do, you are steady, stick to the plan and don’t overeat and throw the plan out the window.  Oh, and enjoy the ride.  Always enjoy the ride.  

On the lighter side, Roxanne brought Key Lime Pie to the office on her first day.  She knew it was one of my favorites.  I have two stances on desserts: 1) I am aggravated when I don’t have something sweet around when I want it.  2) I am aggravated when I DO have something sweet around because I am tempted to eat it.  Oh well.  I am a few pounds away from my ideal weight for Ironman.  Leave for Cambridge, MD, September 15th.  Race is 18th.  My intention is to enjoy the process, to slow down, to enjoy the view, and to be content with whatever outcome that may be.  

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at [email protected] or Click here for phone appointment

Hope all is well with you and your family,


Investment advice offered through Stratos Wealth Advisors, LLC, a registered investment advisor; DBA Riverbend Wealth Management.

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information and provided by Riverbend Wealth Management. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Stratos Wealth Partners and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.


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