New York Times columnist and PBS NewsHour commentator David Brooks is someone whose opinion I always enjoy reading, regardless of how often I agree. David recently wrote an op-ed piece that made some recommendations for Congress and our current administration suggesting that our country is going through its “second adolescence”.
Politics aside, he made one point about curbing government spending that really stuck with me. “The future has no lobby, so there are inexorable pressures favoring present consumption over future investment. The crucial point is not whether a dollar is spent publicly or privately, it’s whether it is spent on the present or future.”
The future has no lobby. There is no shortage of data proving this to be the case. When left to our own devices, the average citizen does a less than stellar job planning for the future. A client recently shared a Time article citing a study from the Deloitte Center for Financial Services that 58% of pre-retirees have no retirement plan, 40% don’t know what a mutual fund is and 20% expect to solely rely on Social Security for their retirement needs.
Even when we know that we’re not doing enough to provide for our future, it remains a tremendously difficult task for any individual, family, organization or government to give up today’s reward for the promise of future benefit.
How we best apply this to the state of our government is well outside the purview of this blog. But how this applies to financial planning and how we serve our clients is clear. In many ways, financial planners serve as advocates for the future. We help our clients filter out all the noise and distractions of today so that they can make the best possible decisions so that their future selves are able to live the life they’ve envisioned and worked so hard to achieve.
We often find that clients are interested in benchmarking their own financial goal setting against societal norms. Just by having a financial goal plan, you are part of the minority and ahead of the curve.
If you know someone who doesn’t have a plan or if you haven’t fine tuned yours in awhile, we’re here to help and to continue lobbying for the future to ensure there are adequate resources in place for both today and tomorrow.