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Mastering The Art of Worry: The Chasers and the Runners

Worry hovers over all of us. Preparation shades us from the blinding light of worry.

There are always trade-offs in life.

Living in the beautiful state of Florida is amazing. Sugar sand beaches, amazing sunsets, nature, a work smart/play hard culture and enough ‘Florida Man’ stories to fill any conversation. It truly is a unique experience. But, there is no perfect place, of course. Like anywhere, there are tradeoffs. For Florida, there are the elusive hurricanes that have been targeting its coasts for hundreds of years. Some years are easy, some years difficult.

We all Worry, but who are the Runners? Who are the Chasers?

Through these times, there is a noticeable difference in behavior. Actually, a very obvious one. There are those who prepare and those who do not. I call them the Chasers and the Runners. There are the Chasers that save up their money to install impact windows in the winter and buy a generator they may never use. They chase the realities that others seem to avoid.

These same people maintain a supply of water and food at home not just for hurricanes, but because life happens.

Then we have the Runners. These are the ones that rush out to the store a day or two before a storm hits (remember, hurricanes are not like tornadoes, there is typically a week to prepare. Leave your excuses for fellow Runners). These folks are interesting to watch. They scurry to the store for toilet paper, wait an hour to fill their tank while the winds are already starting to blow, and buy a generator at Lowe’s with all intention of returning it if they don’t need it. Amazing. All of this done in some kind of haste or panic. I could go on, but I’ll let it go. You know who you are.

Why let the boogeyman through the door?

This ‘people watching’ every year has helped me look way beyond storm prep and allowed me to see how this applies to all facets of life. Those who are prepared worry significantly less. Those who are unprepared invite worry like a long-lost friend at the door. Asking them to come in and have a cup of coffee just to be terrorized for a couple of days.

As a Financial Planner, I insist on being prepared. Prepared for health emergencies, disabilities, market downturns, job loss and the future not turning out like you thought it would. Nobody can predict the future, but we can almost guarantee that things will go wrong at some point. Want to worry less about it? Prepare for it. Be ready. A life spent worrying is a life spent looking through the window at everyone else having fun.

Even in personal finance, we have the Chasers and the Runners. The Chasers build their financial moat by insuring themselves appropriately, investing in things they understand, working with an advisor team they trust to do the right thing for THEIR CLIENTS, and understanding that the world can go to hell in a hand-basket at any time. They build their life and nest egg around these realities. When the storm comes, they are ready. While the Runners are fighting over the last pack of Charmin, these Chasers are at the store just grabbing an extra bottle of Cab Sav until the storm passes.

This process of preparation is nothing new. Wars have been won, tests have been passed, lives have been saved and successful financial goals have been attained all though preparation. This was addressed in an earlier post about preparing your family with a Letter of Wishes. The list of examples is endless. Not taking steps to be ready for a disruption around the corner will virtually guarantee a frustrating, expensive and perhaps tumultuous life. Nobody can save you, but you.

Add some preparation to your diet!

We also live in a society riddled with stress and anxiety and it seems to be getting worse. The 2008 Financial Crisis put on display how unprepared individuals and businesses alike were for a major disruption. Although for some, no amount of preparation would have allowed for a flawless escape, those who shored up their moat came through much better. Some even thrived due to their readiness at the time. The same goes for the 2020 COVID crisis. It’s always what you don’t see coming that can get you.

Preparation for most isn’t sexy, it’s a mindset. But, like financial planning and investing, sexy isn’t what gets the job done.

In the end, human behavior will always create Chasers and Runners. It is just reality. But it doesn’t mean we can’t strive to be better. Save up that rainy day fund (Generator), have your side hustle/skill (Pantry full of food) and hopefully we will meet in aisle 12 grabbing extra snacks and some Blue Moon before the next storm, cool, calm and collected.

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Sep 28, 2023
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Practical and timeless advice

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