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It's life or death. Or it sure as heck feels that way. See more below 👇 And thanks, as always, for re
It’s life or death.
Or it sure as heck feels that way.
See more below 👇
And thanks, as always, for reading.

"I'm Dying Here!"
That’s a quote.
From a client.
And while it might have been said with less than 100% conviction, I’ve heard phrases like that throughout my career delivering financial advice.
The market’s dropping.
Your company stock is cratering. 📉
Your diversified, low-cost, total market index portfolio isn’t posting triple digit returns like investment XYZ is.
These are just a few examples of situations where people - maybe even you - feel a genuine threat to their survival.
But why is that?
I’m no expert, but I think it goes waaaaay back in our history as a species.
In pre-agricultural times, we typically lived in hunter-gatherer tribes.
These tribes provided each of us safety in numbers, division of labor, and a sense of community.
Of belonging.
But what if you were suddenly no longer part of your tribe?
What if you were on your own and had to fend for yourself?
Your chance of getting eaten by a saber tooth tiger just went up.
So did your odds of starving to death.
Part of a tribe = safety, food, belonging, life.
Outside of a tribe = danger, hunger, isolation, death. ☠️
Just like the “money scripts” I referenced in last week’s issue, I believe this ancestral, tribal programming is in each of us to this day.
So when something threatens our sense of belonging to a tribe - whether at home, at work, or feeling like part of the financial majority - we feel a physical threat to our lives.
It can literally feel like life or death.
I know I’ve felt it.
And whether or not you’ve acknowledged it, I’m guessing you’ve felt it too.
So what’s the solution?
I’m not sure.
But I think when it comes to your financial decisions, rather than feeling like you have to “belong” to whatever you perceive is going on around you, take a deep breath and realize that you have a choice.
First, it’s highly unlikely these days that you’ll be eaten by a saber tooth tiger or other predator.
You’re probably not going to starve.
And these days, you’re likely a member of multiple tribes, all of which bring community and connection to your life.
When it comes to your money decisions, just make sure that your financial plan is based on what’s important to you and your personal tribe, whether that’s your family, community, friends, organizations, or others.
I’m not suggesting our tribal history is something to be ignored or suppressed.
Instead embrace it.
Realize when you’re experiencing threats to your survival, even though they can often be subtle.
And accept that you’re going to be faced with some tough decisions in the future around your money. 💰
Your very own personal financial plan might just be the thing that helps you make smarter decisions.
And, more importantly, stick to them.
Even when it feels like a hungry tiger 🐅 is sneaking up behind you.
Advice From A Roman Emperor
I want to share an article from my friend and financial advisor, Brian.
Here’s the money quote, from former Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius:
“Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself.” - Marcus Aurelius
I think that’s a wonderful quote, but as Brian shares in his article below, it’s especially timely given our current state of affairs.
I hope you’ll give it a read.
New year, new mantra — Brian Plain, CFP®
Personal Financial Philosophies
Here’s a short, but thought-provoking, article from Morgan Housel:
Personal Finance Philosophies · Collaborative Fund
I encourage you to read the article above now, but also save and revisit it from time to time.
These are timeless nuggets of wisdom and reminders that I think can help all of us in our money decisions.
Even in the face of what can sometimes feel like a life or death situation.
Until next Wednesday,

Postscript: Estate planning is about more than just your will or setting up a trust. It’s about more than just whatever money or “stuff” you might be leaving behind. You’re also leaving behind family and friends. With that in mind, here are some great suggestions on how to round out your estate planning for those you care most about.

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Russ Thornton

I'm Russ, a financial advisor based in Atlanta, GA. My focus is retirement planning for women (and their families) who are 55+. Every Wednesday, I write an email letter with my thoughts and perspectives on retirement and its many related topics. And I might include some other ideas or interesting topics as well 😉

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Russ Thornton | Atlanta, GA | Disclosures: