Only You             

Smokey the Bear is a firefighting hero. The US Forest Service and Ad Council created the campaign in 1944, and 96% of adults recognize Smokey Bear and his catchphrase, “Only YOU can prevent wildfires!”[1] According to the National Park Service, humans cause nearly 85% of wildfires in the United States.[2] Smokey Bear was right: Only you can prevent wildfires.

What does Smokey the Bear have to do with investing? Well, only you can provide for your financial future. It’s your responsibility and no one else’s, and it’s up to you to save money and invest wisely. Of course, you can obtain help from financial planners, but you must implement your plan because you are the spark for creating financial abundance. A financial planner provides suggestions and recommendations, but you must act on them to succeed financially. If you ignore them, you risk missing out on achieving your financial goals.

Several years ago, my family and I went camping in rural Texas, and we brought all the necessary items – a tent, firewood, marshmallows, etc. We built a raging fire that lasted well into the evening, and before we called it a night, we doused it with several gallons of water to ensure it was out. We did not want any embers landing on the parched Texas prairie.

How can you control your financial future? Here are a few suggestions.

  • Spending. Spending is in your control. The more money you spend, the more assets you need to retire. It’s simple math.
  • Savings. The more money you can save today, the more you can spend tomorrow.
  • Growth. To grow your wealth and maintain your lifestyle, you must own stocks. If you invest too conservatively during your working years, you risk not having enough resources in retirement.
  • Start. The sooner you start investing, the better. For example, a twenty-five-year-old can save $158 monthly to become a millionaire at age 65. If you’re fifty, you must save $2,412 monthly, or fifteen times someone half your age.
  • Emotions. Self-control is paramount for successful investors. Peter Lynch said, “The key organ in your body is your stomach; it’s not your brain.” Warren Buffett added, “Emotional stability will always beat intelligence in investing.” Investing during a stock market correction is devastating and painful, like a forest fire, but you must not panic and sell your stocks. Stocks, like forests, eventually recover. If you panicked in 2008, 2018, 2020, and 2022, you’ve missed significant gains as the market rebounded.

You’re it. It’s up to you to succeed financially, and you must take control of your financial future to prosper. You need to strike the match and start the fire, but make sure you have a plan before you do.

What matters is hard work and emotional intelligence. ~ Mickey Drexler

September 4, 2023

Bill Parrott, CFP®, is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management in Austin, Texas. Parrott Wealth Management is a fee-only, fiduciary, registered investment advisor firm. Our goal is to remove complexity, confusion, and worry from the investment and financial planning process so our clients can pursue a life of purpose. Our firm does not have an asset or fee minimum, and we work with anybody who needs financial help regardless of age, income, or asset level. PWM’s custodian is Schwab, and our annual fee starts at .5% of your assets and drops depending on your asset level.

Note: Investments are not guaranteed and do involve risk. Your returns may differ from those posted in this blog. PWM is not a tax advisor, nor do we give tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for items that are specific to your situation. Options involve risk and aren’t suitable for every investor. Prices and yields are for today only and are subject to change without notice.

[1]’s%20favorite%20black%20bear%20turns,old%20on%20Tuesday%2C%20August%209th.&text=Smokey%20Bear%20and%20his%20signature,impressive%2096%25%20of%20adults%20nationwide., Grant Peterson, August 3, 2022