We live in a culture of rights, and we expect instant gratification for the things we crave, whether it's the latest tech gadget, sushi, or a trip to Las Vegas. However, every time we pay for something, we have less money to spend on other things, including our investment goals. Unfortunately, many people lack the discipline or willpower to give up on immediate pleasures in order to thrive in the future, creating a very damaging feedback loop over time.
A 2015 study on goal setting by Dr. Jill Matthews, a researcher at Dominican University in California, San Rafael, found that participants between the ages of 23 and 72 who set their goals in writing and sent regular progress reports to their friends had a "much higher success rate." Of those who kept their goals to themselves. " In fact, more than 70% of respondents who wrote down and shared their goals reported success compared to 35% of those who maintained their goals. Goals for themselves, without writing them down.
This is a great result, which applies directly to achieving investment goals and objectives, and provides an ideal pathway for people who lack the discipline or willpower to overcome their shortcomings in a life-changing way. The age diversity among participants also tells us that it is never too late to achieve realistic investment goals as long as we are willing to put in the extra effort, write them in detail and inform a helpful third party.
Of course, even disciplined people may struggle to stay on the financial track when life throws them a hard ball. Job loss, divorce, illness, or other adverse circumstances can put life at an unexpected juncture that negatively affects earnings and energy savings. Volatility can also affect financial markets and your savings, as it did in 2007 and 2008 when American investors lost trillions of dollars in their retirement accounts.
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Bear markets and crashes can be inevitable during the decades between your first contribution and retirement age, despite stats confirming impressive long-term equity returns. Many investors are not prepared for such volatile periods, and they often ignore good advice and give up long positions at competitive rates. It is easy to tell ourselves that we will stand firm when the next crisis occurs, but you will not know for sure until it occurs.
Pairs and targets of investment
Pooling resources between husband and wife, related spouses or same-sex couples provides an ideal way to overcome the many challenges of setting investment goals. This approach requires deep confidence because breaking up later in life can have dire consequences. For example, a 2004 study found that roughly 14% of couples choose to keep their finances separate. It is important that both partners agree fully in advance on how to manage the pooled resources to reduce the chances of misunderstanding. The study also found that 70% of husbands talk about money on a weekly basis, which is both good and bad, because many of these arguments turn into hot arguments, according to a research paper published by the National Council on Family Relations in 2012. Reviewing these findings, the researcher at State University concluded Kansas, Sonia Brett, notes that "the arguments about money (are) by far the biggest indicator of a divorce." She also suggests that arguments about money can stem from "ingrained partner beliefs" that lead to entrenched, but often unconscious, biases resulting from early life experiences.