Column: Moving on from “old normal”

Amidst all the talk about “the new normal,” not much serious thought is being given to what “the old normal” was. It’s like setting a destination on your GPS without knowing where you are starting from. You’ll just end up going in circles!

If the "new normal" ends up being a compromise on the "old normal," I am not signing up for the program. The worst mindset is to assume that what we had before was better than what we’re striving for.

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Our current situation allows us to take stock and make decisions about which parts of "old normal" are worth keeping and which parts to let go. We are then in a great position to create a future so much better than what we experienced up until March of this year. I would go a step further to define the obstacles that have been holding us back and transform them into the opportunities that excite us.

As a financial advisor, here are the top things that excite me right now:

By taking the past few months to catch our breath from the unsustainable pace of old normal, we have been able to focus on the relationships and values that we treasure. We can now abandon the shallow goals that popular culture tells us we should have and finally create an inspiring future moving toward the goals that really matter to us.

For the 66 per cent of Canadians who do not have a written financial plan yet, now is the ideal time to create an understandable and achievable financial plan focused on helping you move forward, step by step. Financial planning is not expensive, difficult nor too late to start. Now is the time!

COVID-19 has taught us very quickly the wisdom of Mike Tyson: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face!” An old-school 50-page financial plan is irrelevant practically the day after it is printed. We have quickly learned that an agile financial planning approach is necessary when responding to life’s unexpected events. For a financial plan to work tomorrow, it must embrace flexibility.

Solid evidence-based approaches to investing have evolved exponentially. We no longer need to settle for "old normal" approaches and habits that have tended to erode wealth, rather than build it. Investors can now embrace science, rather than former ways based on speculation and illusion.

As we get more and more comfortable with meeting online, the professionals we deal with now have more capacity to help people. You can take care of the things you know you need to do like your financial plan, wills and powers of attorney, tax advice, etc. with greater clarity and interaction, all without travel time, parking fee and without leaving the comfort of your home!

I do not intend to trivialize the global tragedy that COVID-19 represents. However, it would be an even greater tragedy if we ignored the lessons we are learning and the opportunities that are being uncovered.

This column is part of a monthly series courtesy of Richard Vetter, founder of WealthSmart Inc.

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