Focus energy on helping yourself and care for those around you

I recently received a box of birthday presents from a dear and thoughtful friend that included socks that say “2020 Sucks.” It’s been a rough one. One day we will look at this year’s positive lessons and outcomes, but never will we forget those we lost, those who were financially harmed and how all of us were emotionally affected. 

One of our (many) sayings at Yeske Buie in our attempt to be a bit Buddhist is, “Nothing matters, but you still have to rebalance your 401(k).” In that vein, I have a few thoughts on finances during this pandemic, particularly as that applies to women.

Research suggests that women can be more conservative than men in their investing. It also suggests that women tend to listen to their advisers in a fairly serious and continuous way. Both of these things will serve women particularly well in this current economic environment.

PERCEPTION OF RISK

One of the best ways to weather a financial storm is to have a resilient portfolio. Having a portfolio with enough cash for your needs (and for your nerves!) enables you to focus on other aspects of your life, worry less about your finances and spend more time on self, family and spirit. 

To the extent worry creeps in, listening to your adviser can significantly positively impact your perception of the risk in the financial world. (If your adviser doesn’t make you feel better, it might be time to consider a different adviser.)

With a resilient portfolio and a truthful but comforting adviser by your side, you can move on to other financial issues that are at least as important. Do you worry about your health insurance? Your emergency fund? Your estate plan? Those pesky monthly charges on your credit card that you can’t figure out how to cancel? I could go on and on. But this is a great time to get those issues well in order. Make space to aim your energy at your mental, emotional and spiritual health by dealing with these important, but logistical, financial issues. 

This will open up space for what women do. Take care of our families, our friends, our communities, ourselves (hopefully!), and our careers. I have another dear friend who is a business coach to financial advisers. She continually reminds us that lying on the sofa, staring at the ceiling, thinking about (fill in the blank: your business, your partner, your kids, your friends, yourself, etc.) is work. It is “doing something” about those things. This is a foreign concept for many women — that just sitting and thinking (or planning, or journaling or any other such activity) is actually “doing.” Women are accustomed to being on the move at all times. But sometimes not moving is even more important than moving. 

BEFORE HELPING OTHERS

I am personally working on some self-focus. I am blessed beyond words to have a wonderful supportive husband, fabulous business partners and employees, and a loving family. So I have a tribe helping to care for me so I can care for myself. It’s a bit of a strange place to be, at 60, having “been on the move” for most of those years. But I’m determined to make it work (#firstworldcomplaints). Let’s all try to focus on ourselves a bit. 

I haven’t been on a plane for months, but I can recount in my mind the many times I’ve heard a flight attendant tell us all to “put your mask on before helping others.” We need to care for ourselves before we can be there to care for others.

Happy Holidays. Take care of yourselves.

Elissa Buie, the 2019 recipient of InvestmentNews’ Alexandra Armstrong Lifetime Achievement Award, is co-founder and CEO of Yeske Buie.

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