Conquering Fear

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Jan 4, 2011 12:39 pm

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704111504576059823679423598.html

Great article on mindfulness (Buddhist Mindfulness).

Now, a third-wave of cognitive-behavioral therapy is catching on in psychology and self-help circles. It holds that simply observing your critical thoughts without judging them is a more effective way to tame them than pressuring yourself to change or denying their validity.

We all have fears but we generally don't show them to others. This is a society where we define ourself more by money and stuff - we compare ourself to others - so our egos are more attached to these external comparisons. That's why men are less likely to seek your financial advice than women ( who maybe are better at being mindful and making room for emotiions, thoughts and actions).

If you are new in this business, don't be too hard on yourself, try to strive for survival without thinking too much about not knowing what you don't know, learning just in time and not just in case, and being activity focused.

Established reps have a different problem - dealing with success - more like maintaining the status quo or not getting burned out. Losing almost any client for 'most any reason can be a blow to the ego, really it is just a market activity. Doing the critical tasks become really boring, but the averages that come out of it meet our basic needs which pave the way for creative endeavors and life balance.

Maintaining good mental health and a productive attitude is probably harder than most of us would admit, even to ourselves, but having that awareness is the first step to being more active, and activity complements being aware of our emotions and thoughts.

Jan 5, 2011 2:18 pm

That would probably be a good business for someone - working on the mental health of burned out FAs. I guess they call it coaching.

There is a lot of literuture in the FP  magazines about holistic financial planning. The financial planning process itself involves sorting out feeling, thoughts (discovery)  and actions.

But the idea of simply observing your own thoughts without judging them is a very old idea. Basic stuff for Buddhist meditation.

Time to Google titles for Buddhist Investing, see if I can make some money selling a book. Since CA is going broke, the world's seventh largest economy might be a good market.

DO they teach this stuff at Jones, Spiff?

Jan 5, 2011 7:23 pm

No, but my Visiting Vet did teach me the Vulcan Mind Meld and the Jedi Mind Trick.  This is not the annuity you are looking for.  

Jan 5, 2011 7:35 pm

I don't get the annuity part. You would almost have to lie to annuitize your knowledge, at least make any serious money.

Jan 6, 2011 9:43 am

You've never seen Star Wars?  Obi-wan uses the Jedi Mind Trick to tell some stormtroopers that he and Luke don't have R2-D2 and C3PO - "These are not the droids you are looking for."  I guess I should have put quotation marks around my last sentence.    

Jan 6, 2011 11:22 am

Yeah, I forgot about Star Wars, that's a good metaphor for the kind of mind control we are going to need to deploy going forward.

Fearlessly ranging to the topic of the future of Social Security, it appears we now can consider Greece, Italy, and other European countries, along with Japan, as we evaluate the hard work of retirement planning (assumptions):

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704723104576061332542456172.html

Japan is foundering on the promises made by past generations of politicians that are coming due in a rapidly aging society. These include unfunded pensions and medical care for the elderly. And it will only get worse—2012 is expected to be a watershed year when the biggest wave of baby boomers begins to retire.

Listening to Fox Business News out of the corner of my ear while cooking, it is amazing the hear the host ask each guest the same question ( what about entitlements, public pensions, medicare, SS) - and each politician will tip toe up to the edge and never acknowledge the 1200 pound gorilla.

Payments on the national debt next year are projected at an already substantial $263 billion, but this assumes a payout of no more than 2% on 10-year bonds. Yields may remain well below this level for now, but in recent auctions signs have emerged that investors are losing their appetite for government bonds. The national debt is forecast to exceed household savings in the next year, as retirees continue to spend down savings. As long as growth remains slow, corporations will probably continue to save. But if Tokyo is forced to look abroad for funding, it will have to pay much higher rates.

That has the potential to blow out the budget in spectacular fashion. With central and local government debt now estimated at over $11 trillion, each one percentage point increase in yields will cost $110 billion. Adding in its unfunded liabilities, Japan has already reached the point at which its debt load will continue to increase regardless of how much it cuts spending or raises taxes.

Doesn't make you want to pick up the phone and start cold calling, hey, how about the potential for them Japanese small cap stocks? Maybe need to use Jedi mind tricks.