Things Change...And Stay the Same

Things Change...And Stay the Same

December 05, 2023

I started my career in the financial services industry right around the time Canby Financial Advisors was established in 1998. And I’ve been a member of the Canby Financial team since 2014.

When people hear this, they often ask me what’s changed over the years.

My first instinct is to quote the French author Alphonse Karr, who said, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

People are just as jittery about the market and the economy as they were back then.

They’re still concerned about job security. They’re worried about whether they can afford their children’s college education and live the way they want to during retirement.

Even after they leave the workforce, they’re trying to figure out what kind of legacy they’d like to leave their children, and what they need to do to safeguard their wealth should their spouses and partners lose the capacity to manage their money on their own. 

For me, people’s financial priorities and concerns haven’t changed all that much. What has changed is the impact of ever-evolving technologies on the way we all think about these issues.

When I started, the Internet was in its relative infancy. Some of the founders of today’s social media giants were still in high school. Cell phones were used primarily for calling people. And it was nearly a decade before Apple revolutionized the smartphone industry by rolling out the iPhone.

While you could get stock quotes and news over the web, you had to rely on glacially slow dial-up connections.

Twenty-five years later, the whole world is interconnected in ways that we only dreamed about back then. News from the most remote areas of the world is available to anyone, anywhere. And while this instant access to information has enabled us to bridge great distances, it’s also allowed for amateur market manipulators and AI-driven fake news to sew panic and FOMO attitudes among investors.

That’s where the value of working with a financial planning professional comes in. And where certain technological advances have made our jobs a lot easier.

For example, when I started at Canby Financial, we relied on spreadsheets to carry out various financial planning tasks, and I often had to write the results and recommendations out on paper.

Today, we have access to amazing software that instantly lets our clients visually see a variety of possible outcomes based on different saving, spending, and investing assumptions.

And while technology will continue to improve the quality of the services we provide to our clients, I believe that the foundational principles of effective financial planning will still be relevant.

Why? Because the life changes people went through 25 years ago will still be happening 25 years from now. Couples will start families. People will pass away. Homes and businesses will be sold.  

Children born in years to come will experience the same kinds of financial see-saws their parents and grandparents are experiencing today.

Prices and interest rates will rise and fall. The economy will grow and contract. The political pendulum will swing back and forth. Periods of job growth will be followed by massive layoffs. College costs will continue to rise. Owners of homes in the most desirable locations will go through periods of rising and falling values, but prices generally will rise more over time.  

While the challenges future generations face will be similar, I do believe that what will be different are the ways many younger people think about these issues.

For example, recent industry research reveals that many members of Generation Z want to retire in their early 50s and 60s. Some are willing to forgo owning homes and having children so they can save as much as they can so they can stop working full-time as early as possible.

These are lofty goals, but with medical advancements likely to make lifespans of 100 years the norm rather than the exception, these ambitious would-be early retirees may need to build nest eggs that last 50 years or longer.

Many younger people also think differently about investing. They only want to own companies that reflect their values. Others are rejecting traditional investments and betting the farm on cybercurrency and digital tokens, which, like Beanie Babies and baseball cards, have no intrinsic value.

But even if their attitudes about saving and investing change over time, many will still need help figuring out how to balance income and spending. Managing debt. Determining how much they should save today to fund their short and long-term financial goals. Selecting investments that are more likely to generate the returns they need to achieve these goals.

They’ll want to work with professionals who can help them address these financial challenges and manage their portfolios. So they can spend more time advancing their careers, raising their families, and enjoying their free time. And less time obsessing about how the market is doing.

Of course, no one really knows whether any of my predictions will come true and what my job will be after Canby Financial Advisors completes its next 25 years. As Yogi Berra, the legendary New York Yankees manager, once said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”



This article was authored by Joelle Spear and Jeffrey Briskin. Joelle is a financial advisor and Partner located at Canby Financial Advisors, 161 Worcester Road, Framingham, MA 01701. She offers securities and advisory services as an Investment Adviser Representative of Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. She can be reached at 508.598.1082 or  Jeffrey Briskin is Director of Marketing at Canby Financial Advisors.


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