It dawned on me that the 2nd anniversary of writing the Fourth Dimension Weekly Newsletter (the ‘Weekly’) must be near, so I went back into the archives and looked. Nope, it was a month ago. I suppose it’s good that I missed it. After all, if I was counting each week’s article, that might mean that I’m dreading writing it. Not the case. So, with this week’s edition, number 108, I’d like to reflect on what I’ve learned writing the Weekly for you each and every week for over two years now.
1. There’s always something to discuss. Considering the number of puzzle pieces to fit together when planning a decades-long retirement, the sheer amount of nuance involved in getting it ‘right’ means that we’re never truly done. Things change and the discussion will continue.
2. Sometimes it’s not all about the markets, investments, or financial products. I’ve learned that a big part of retirement planning – and living well in retirement – is about one’s philosophy. Having a healthy and prosperous approach to living a great life allows a person to have more clarity about how to actually put to use the specific planning tools. Without having a clear philosophy about what you’d like life to look like, it’s very difficult to feel comfortable making big decisions. This means we’ll often contemplate the softer issues of planning, that don’t always include stock market updates.
3. At times, market updates are exactly what we need to discuss. I look back to the Weekly articles focused on the markets’ responses to China’s currency concerns, Brexit, and the presidential election, and I see moments in time when we’re reminded that the world economy and news events will test our retirement planning philosophy. Our resolve is tested, forcing us to see past the immediacy of such events and re-fix our gaze on the longer-term outcomes that have real impact. At the very moment of such events though, we need to talk, so having the weekly conversation already established gives us the means by which to have those crucial discussions in real-time.
4. I need rhythm to be productive. Maybe it’s my 30+ years of drumming, but I’ve found that having consistent and positive habits is very helpful for me. In writing an article each and every week, I’m able to stay focused in ways that bring me a sense of peace. I’m not sure I can explain it very well, but knowing that I’m holding myself accountable to a (hopefully) useful article every Friday keeps me reading, researching, and pondering in such a way that I’m constantly thinking about how to better serve you, the reader, the retiree, the person. If I wasn’t sticking to the regular regimen, I’m not sure that I’d be as sharp.
5. I’ve learned that you’re a pretty awesome group of people. Even though you don’t see it, I receive great feedback from many of you. It’s really fun to see how a particular article has impacted you and what thoughts it may have inspired. Sometimes, just getting an article in your inbox reminds you that you have an unrelated question for me. Other times, my words struck a chord deep inside and triggered a really great memory. That’s very gratifying for me to see, and I hope you continue to feel compelled to keep the conversation going. While it’s helpful for me to keep writing to you, it’s of little value if you’re not finding this helpful. Thank you for the responses and for the time and attention you give to this.
So, edition #108 has given me opportunity to take pause and reflect on why we do this, you and me. If you have any thoughts about what you’d like to see the Weekly become or what you’d enjoy talking about, please let me know. After all, this is for you, and without you, it’s just me clicking away on a keyboard.
Thanks for reading and responding.
All the best,
Adam Cufr, RICP®