Roughly three years ago we started the process of renaming our firm to Values First Planning. As many of you know – the idea behind the name is to help families understand that their core values must be front and center in all their plans. Money is only one of the scarce resources we use to advance our plans.
This idea was tested over the last two years, as money was unable to help us escape the stress or isolation of the pandemic. Having adequate investment portfolios did basically nothing to help us navigate the social, political, and cultural stress we endured. Now that the COVID numbers are plummeting, and we are ready to get back to our old familiar rhythms of life, we find ourselves staring at a new global conflict.
I find most families really struggle to articulate what their core values are in a way that points to the actions they want more of, as well as the outcomes they most desire. Most end up stating something true – but not specific enough -- to guide their daily decisions. Almost everyone values family and faith in some form or another.
What I am now seeing more clearly is that the core values that give direction and clarity often stem from virtuous traits. These traits provide shape beyond the simple idea of “doing good” and provide direction in how you use resources to accomplish specific goals.
Some of the traits I have seen people elevate to core value status include: honesty, togetherness, education, hospitality, shared experiences, serving those who need a hand up, and even mentoring. But I think we all saw something this last week we have not seen in a long time – and what we saw was courage.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy – The President of Ukraine, has modeled something that we have seen far too little of over the last many years. This is not a courage based on his own glory or even survival, but a courage to stand in the face of fear and mounting danger and say – I’m not going anywhere. Some things in life are that important.
Chaos reminds us we have limited control and even less foresight of the world around us. But courage tells us to keep moving forward, directed by virtue and our values. And as an added bonus, courage is often contagious.
The last several years have been quite a challenge. Markets, and more importantly people of character, navigate these times and come out stronger on the other side. Might I encourage you to add courage to your list of core values. Find opportunities to do things that use your resources (of all different types) to help others move through the chaos. That way, when these challenges pass – and they will pass - we will be stronger and better for it.
If you need help facing theses times courageously or want to know more about how we are managing portfolios in times like these – Let us help!