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How Will You Stay On Track?

Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a person does not know what harbor they are making for, no wind is the right wind. - Lucius Anneaeus Seneca 

You may have noticed that we’ve had some pretty big award shows in Hollywood lately. Last Sunday, Hollywood’s brightest stars, dressed in their best, showed up for the biggest night in cinema. I can tell you from firsthand experience that the Oscars are a BIG deal if you work in the film industry. When I lived in Los Angeles, it was known that the biggest stars were in town, and the party scene was going to be epic. Being invited to attend an A-list party was a big deal—and HIGHLY desirable for young actors and actresses. 

In addition to the glamour, you’ve probably noticed that celebrities cannot seem to help themselves when it comes to giving their political and social opinions. In fact, it’s become so commonplace that we find ourselves shocked when one of the A-listers doesn’t attempt to get on the political stump. It might seem like they’ve all become unhinged, but it’s the opposite. What we are seeing are vivid examples of tribalism and intentional social posturing. They are not playing to us—they are playing to each other. 

Becoming successful in Hollywood is likely one of the most difficult things I can imagine. There are so many people to please, so many obstacles, and so many intangible circumstances that can make or break you. Once one begins to ascend in the industry, the very last thing they would ever do is allow themselves to get out of step with the influencers of their profession. Thus, we are doomed to continue seeing this new wave of social and political activism from Hollywood…that is, until it’s no longer the popular thing to do. 

Why the story about Hollywood, you ask? 

Like the quote at the top, many of the film stars we know today have no direction of their own convictions. They are surrounded by agents, managers, and PR reps who continually tell them what choices they should make for their career. Many young stars throw their own values and priorities aside for the mere chance to be famous. For them, no wind is the right wind….it’s just the wind (and which way is it blowing today). 

This is a great lesson for each of us, as we live our daily lives. I’ve noticed a trend in the news media lately where there seems to be some folks who believe the sky is literally falling. The two main political parties seem more divided than ever, and the election buzz is only just beginning its ascent to feverish levels. If it isn’t happening already, it won’t be long before each of us will be surrounded with the voices of friends, relatives, and co-workers. Full of emotion, each will be telling us what we should believe and what we should fear. Each of them blowing a wind of their own making in our direction. 

We must fight the urge to let our emotions govern our financial decisions. This does NOT mean that we don’t exercise prudent decision-making. Instead, for those of us who have created a written financial plan, we review our plan and determine what adjustments we may want to consider. 

Where are we ultimately trying to go? 

What are our core values and principles? 

How might we adjust our course if necessary? 

Then we decide. We don’t allow our emotions to drive us. Yes, it’s hard. Controlling our emotions is probably the hardest thing to do when it come to investing and personal finance. But, that’s why each of us should create our own financial blueprint. Once you have a foundational plan, you can then live by the mantra that “the plan comes first.” It doesn’t mean that we don’t have difficult choices ahead. It simply means we know our desired destination.