By Trying Not to Lose, You’re Still Losing!

I’m blessed in that my friends and clients are regularly introducing me to their friends for my advice on “all things investment and insurance.” We can all agree there are a lot of conflicting opinions out there about everything regarding money, savings, and retirement. Fortunately, I have decades of experience cutting through the confusion.

On the investment side of my practice, I’m constantly hearing “Oh, I took all of my retirement money and put in a savings account because I’m scared of what to do with it.”  That’s when I ask, “Round numbers, how much do have in your retirement accounts?  Oftentimes, I hear amounts well into six figures. That reminds me of the Will Rogers quote: “I’m not so much interested in the return ON my money as I am the return OF my money.” He said that in 1932, right in the middle of the Great Depression.

So, for fear of losing money…you’re losing. There are all kinds of reasons to not put your money to work. I can name about ten off the top of my head right now and the list goes on and on. I listen to the same stuff you hear on the TV and radio, and yes, most of it sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher! “Wah, wah, wah,…?”

Think about it: Inflation is at the top of the headlines lately — the cost of everything is going up. Kroger just issued a warning that grocery prices will continue to rise through the end of the year. If you’ve gone to Home Depot lately, you are feeling the increasing cost of lumber, and the cost of putting off that project you meant to do last year. Google the current US inflation rate. It’s 5.25% for September 2021. When do you ever remember it being that high? I sure don’t.

How’s that .5% return from the bank working for you on those retirement savings earmarked for years if not decades down the road? If inflation continues to grow at a current average of about 5.25%, and taxes will be paid on any distributions in retirement, you’re going backwards. Not just a little backwards, but potentially years’ worth of retirement income backwards. I love quoting Albert Einstein: “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it. He who doesn’t, pays it.”

Have you heard of “The Rule of 72?”  Look it up. It’s a simplified formula that calculates how many years it will take an investment to double in value. Divide that .5% into 72 and you will turn $1 into $2.00 in 144 years. 144 years?! Do the math! I’m looking at annualized returns on client accounts as I write this, and many are up over 25% or more. Divide 25% into 72 = less than 3 years for that account value to double with that return. Which would you rather have?

That doesn’t mean you will get the same results as these client accounts, as that’s what they have earned in the past year. Could your account lose some of its value in the short term? Possibly. That’s called volatility and it’s very normal. However, per Investopedia, historically the average annual return of the S & P 500 is approximately 10-11%. This from inception in 1926 to 2018. Especially with retirement accounts, you’ve got to be playing the “long game.”  Meaning if you’re 50 years old with a potential life expectancy of another 30 to 40 years, we’ve got to do all we can to create strategies so that your money will outlast you.

Warren Buffett is famous for saying, “Risk is not knowing what you’re doing.  Therefore, that’s why advisors like me exist. And before you ask, YES, I am a Fiduciary, which means I am legally and ethically obligated to act in your best interests — 100% of the time. Contrary to what you might think, what I’m talking about here is not a DIY (do it yourself) project. I truly believe that most of one’s failures with their investment planning are founded in emotion and myth. Wouldn’t you prefer logic and fact?

Do yourself a huge favor. Reach out to 3 or 4 people you trust and get recommendations from them for who they use for their own personal finances. Interview a couple and see if you find one you can trust and build a relationship. The more independent they are, the more I prefer them. I have always put my trust in flesh and blood; not bricks and mortar.

Or, you could always hit reply and we can finally have that latte I’ve been offering for the last 20 years. More than likely, it’s time for you to make some changes financially. As always, I appreciate you and the time it took to get this far into my monthly rant. And I can’t write in September without saying some of my favorite words: “It’s football time in Tennessee!”

Many thanks,


**Examples are intended for illustrative purposes only and may be not indicative of your situation. Individual results may vary.

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Brian E. Carden, Insurance & Financial Advisor
Phone: 615.506.0300

Securities and Advisory services offered through Madison Avenue Securities, LLC. Member FINRA/SIPC, a registered investment advisor. Past market performance is not indicative of future performance or success. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.