Over the weekend, I was scrolling through my social media feed. It’s great to catch up with old friends and laugh at memes. Every now and then, something pops up that makes me pause and ponder the meaning of life. I saw an inspirational quote. These are typically corny platitudes and I pride myself as being too much of cynic to be inspired. This one got to me.
The simple text on a light blue background said, “You can have anything, but you can’t have everything.”
That’s it, that’s the quote.
I went about my day and thought little of it until my daughter and I had a teaching moment. She wanted to wear a ring that was far too loose. I explained to her that if she wore it out of the house she could have the joy of wearing it, but she had the risk of losing it. It had slipped off several times before.
This applies to my profession on several levels.
In terms of investment performance, you can have higher reward but you can’t have zero volatility at the same time. In terms of retirement spending, you can live like a king today or you can delay your gratification for later. In terms of taxes, you can take your non-qualified profits now or you can delay your taxes but you can’t do both. In terms of insurance, you can low fees or you can have higher protection, but you have to choose.
Perhaps my job is to teach my clients and their friends the trade offs that each decision presents. You’ve no doubt heard the phrase “Pick your poison”. I prefer the analogy, “Eat your vegetables.” In other words, the good and the not-so-ideal come together on the same plate. Each choice you make mutually excludes another choice. In retirement planning and in life you can have anything, but you can’t have everything. If you’d like to discuss your options, click here.