May 2020 Update

by | May 26, 2020

The Spring team kicks off each calendar year with a post we call What We Want for You in… *current year.* For 2020, we wanted you to have practical examples of design thinking – the implementation of last year’s theme – so that you have some of the tools you need to make exceptional decisions in alignment with your own unique circumstances and values. 

Just five months later – has it only been five months???? – we want to bring you back to this idea that what you need to focus on, more than ever, is… you. 

Your story, your home, your work, your realities. Your values. Your dreams. Your goals for your own life. 

You may feel like your plan has been turned upside down, that your goals are terrifyingly out of reach, and that creating positive change just isn’t possible during “these unprecedented times.” How could you make plans for the future when the future is so horrifically unknown? 

We are definitely working with more unknowns than we had been during those halcyon pre-pandemic days. The truth, however, is that we have never really known what was going to happen next. Not really.  

If you’ve read a mutual fund prospectus at any time in your life, first of all, we feel your pain, and second of all, there was a key sentence in there:

Past performance is not indicative of future results.

There was a time when we read that and said to ourselves, “Sure, of course not,” because intellectually, we knew that was true. But somewhere, in our emotions, we felt reassured by that past performance. We thought even if we don’t
totally know, we do kind of know what’s happening next. Why? 

Because we felt – even if we didn’t think – that past performance was, indeed, indicative of future results. Not just in investments, but in everything we’ve ever done. Someone, somewhere, went to the same school we did. Someone did our job before we did it. Someone had kids before we did. Their performance would be our future result. 

But then we went to school and found that our unique experience was different because the teachers were different, society had changed, teaching styles were updated, tuition was higher, and fraternities were actually not worth making movies about. We suspect that the last one was always the truth. 

Then we got our jobs. We found that the regulations and rules had changed, the job descriptions were switched before we showed up. We learned that the long-term pathway to success that looked – from the outside – so easily attainable was now burdened by some pretty significant walls. 

We had our children and we realized that our parents were actually humans and just as lost at this as we are. We had more than one child and realized that each one really IS different from the next. Sometimes we threw in another kid (or several more) just to test the theory.

We realized that past performance was not indicative of future results. We realized that we had to blaze our own trail, build our own ideologies, and rely on our wits to create the life we wanted. 

Those skills you built in your own life, in adjusting to the unexpected, and learning along the way, are exactly the skills you’ll put to work in the absolute weirdness that is this global trauma. You are going to keep moving forward, building the life you want. The components of what that life entails might need to be tweaked, at least in the short term, to deal with the massive curve balls being tossed our way. But your values? Those haven’t changed. They may have been thrown up to the forefront of your mind and deepened in meaningful ways – and that’s amazing. That might be just what you needed to understand exactly what “your life, well spent” means. 

Our case study of the month, Terri, found that focusing on her life, well spent was hard – especially with income that ranged from big money to no money in any given month. We helped her figure out exactly what she needed, and how to reduce her stress, without having to change how she was paid, or how much. Since you’re asking, she’s also managing really well through the pandemic, despite massive hits to her income, because she knows exactly what to do next. 

Sandi is back with many things for you to read, including a guide on respectful money conversations, an article on the distinction between forecast and expectation and another one about how COVID19 underscore the critical need for childcare. There’s a lot more in her Great Reads – find it all here.

Speaking of reading… and Sandi… she has a book she thinks you might like. Integrated Investing by Bonnie Foley-Wong dives into impact investing – the kind of investing you do with your heart, in addition to your head. If you want to invest with purpose, you’ll want to check out Sandi’s review and maybe seek out your very own copy of Integrated Investing. 

Finally, don’t forget to keep an eye on our COVID19 resources page, which we update regularly with important tools and updates to help you navigate the constant change. 

Wishing you safety, calmness, and kindness. 

Spring Team



Practice Notes:


The Spring Plans team has always worked remotely with people across the country. A few of our team members have also met up in person, before meeting people in person stopped being a thing. In some parts of the country, some businesses are opening and some types of socialization are being permitted. At Spring, many of our clients are health workers or are in at-risk age categories. We know that wishing you safety, calmness, and kindness means being thoughtful about protecting your health. For your safety and the safety of our team, we will be continuing with remote meetings for the foreseeable future.

“Free” Fridays remain booked permanently in our calendars (even though Sandi’s are on Wednesdays!). These days are free to us at Spring in the sense that they are our opportunity to work on becoming better planners, whether through collaboration and discussion, education, research, or even a little down time. It’s been a regular practice since the summer of 2017, and we will continue to set aside the time to become better versions of ourselves every week. Even 1% better is solidly worth it, because we know that will be reflected in the work we do for you.

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Got a question about your cash flow or financial plan? Email us at [email protected].

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Julia Chung