File photo. (Stephen Frye / MediaNews Group)
While watching business channel CNBC recently, the hosts were discussing a survey that I thought was worth sharing. It verified my inclination that inflation has really taken a mental toll on the psyche of most Americans.
According to the survey, even millionaires are not feeling wealthy and are concerned about their finances. A few days later, a casual conversation I was having with a friend exemplified why people, regardless of financial status, are feeling insecure.
My friend was quoted $495 for new shocks on his vehicle. I thought it sounded reasonable until he clarified that was the price per tire. My jaw fell to the floor.
Is it any wonder why so many people feel as if the financial weight of the world is on their shoulders? Or why the CNBC survey reported that only a small percentage of millionaires feel wealthy?
Inflation has really taken a toll on how households view their overall financial circumstances. It seems like there’s another financial twist at every turn that startles your mind and delivers a blow to your pocketbook.
The CNBC report also revealed that more than half of investors with at least $1 million of investable assets didn’t see themselves as wealthy. They considered themselves to be upper middle class.
Essentially, they’re saying that having that much might make you feel financially comfortable, but it doesn’t mean you’re wealthy. For them, having a lot of assets doesn’t mean what it used to mean. I believe most people are beginning to understand the mathematical reality of today’s world. The dollar has lost significant purchasing power.
As a financial advisor, I’m constantly encouraging people to carefully watch their spending habits, and to save and invest. Even then, you have to walk a fine line between being overly cautious and risk averse to being reckless with spending and overly aggressive with investing.
At one extreme are the overly cautious people who will step on dollar bills to pick up nickels. They do everything possible to avoid risk and are extremely tight with spending. And, of course, they’re ardent coupon clippers and only shop sales. Oh, and they won’t even consider investing.
Years ago, I had a fairly conservative client who really wanted to sell his home and move into a new neighborhood. I carefully reviewed all the numbers and suggested he proceed with the move. Because it would have required about $300 per month of additional cash flow, my cautious client said no. He didn’t want to spend more per month.
Subsequently, his home had minimal appreciation and his ongoing maintenance well exceeded the $300 per month he was trying to avoid. Being too averse to risk cost him quite a bit.
At the other end of the spectrum are the overly aggressive. They will put all their eggs into a hot speculative item without doing adequate due diligence. Their investing style is more akin to gambling than investing.
Overall, most successful people that have a sizeable nest egg are somewhere between cautious and speculative. These are the bulk of the millionaires that understand that, in our current economic environment, a million isn’t what it used to be.
It’s nothing to scoff at, but in today’s world it can take a lot more than a million dollars to feel financially secure.
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The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation. Comments concerning the past performance are not intended to be forward looking and should not be viewed as an indication of future results.