Catching Up with Isaac Outside of the Financial World

Let’s take a brief break from the financial talk and check in with how Isaac has been holding up during this historically topsy-turvy year of 2020.


John Stillman: Hello, and welcome to Wright Money Tips. I'm John Stillman, alongside Isaac Wright. You can reach out to him at (804) 777-9999. You can call or text that number. You can find them online at Isaac is a chartered financial consultant and the President of Financial Dynamics and Associates. And, Isaac, I have a really hard hitting financial topic that I wanted to dive in with you today. So as we approach the end of third quarter here heading into the fourth quarter of the year with what has been for a lot of us, the most bizarre year of our lives. Here's the topic I wanted to address. How are you doing? How's this year been for you?

Isaac Wright: How you doing? I'm doing good, man. I can't complain. I get asked that sometimes. And of course, I try to ask that of other people too, because you want to make sure, if you care about people, you want to make sure people around you are doing halfway decent. But life is good, man. I can't complain. Our practice has grown this year. I'll just talk briefly professional. Then I'll talk a couple things personal, but I mean the company is doing great. Of course, people are more focused about their money when they see what happened earlier this year, when they lost maybe 20%, 30%, 40% of their money in a month. And here we are back to sitting fairly reasonable on the market, hitting all time highs, not too long ago.

Isaac Wright: And I don't know, I just, I look at our practice. I'll be really excited to get back to doing some events. We do offer visits to the office and we have a protocol that's been really nice. And a lot of people have appreciated having some one-on-one face time under the right conditions. So all that being said, company, staff, not going anywhere, planning on staying here till the cows come home.

Isaac Wright: But personally, I'm happy that we've had the ability to have our kids in school. I've been fortunate enough to be able to have our kids in a place where they can go to school. I will say though, that just spending a lot of time with people relative to the ones that have kids, or even if they're trying to, again, a lot of our families are trying to figure how to handle that with grandkids and sitters and tutors and all the above, going through this third quarter into the end of the year, I really, really hope more and more people become, at least start skewing towards moving back to some level of option when it comes to school.

Isaac Wright: But I've been healthy, man. Everybody's been healthy. Knock on wood. I know people have had some issues that I've talked to with loved ones, but typically they've been older having some severe issues with COVID. But I will say overall, I feel like it's not been a bad situation on that front for at least the people that I'm surrounded by. I don't know, John, what about you, man? I mean, again, if you think about it, we always talk about finances and retirement. It's nice to just talk about how life's been.

John Stillman: Yeah, well, it's been a weird year. I think there are a lot of things that come out of this year that are going to be good habits that we've developed that we'll keep moving forward. For my family, we have much more of a routine now. We have Chipotle for lunch every Monday and we get Town Hall Burger for dinner every Friday. And Saturday, I really make a point to not do any work, not have my laptop out at home and let Saturday really just be a work in the garden and play with the kids kind of day. This time has made us focus more on that stuff. I think there are good habits that we'll take out of it. Not that it hasn't been inconvenient obviously, but I'm curious with-

Isaac Wright: Yeah, I think that's really good, man. I mean, it's funny you say that. I'm just sitting here. I didn't mean to interrupt you, but I turned 44 this year and I feel like I'm in better shape than I was when I was probably in my mid to late thirties. Because I've been going to the gym every morning. It's one way that I can control a little part of my day and the place that I belong to has a protocol. And we were able to thankfully have small class sizes and a predetermined workout that allows me to at least have somebody tell me what to do first thing in the morning so I can feel like I'm getting off to a right start every day.

John Stillman: So I'm curious with the many, many clients that you talk to on a weekly basis, what is the mindset like for most of them? I mean, obviously we know there are people in society that are really scared and really afraid. Are you seeing that with your clients as you talk to folks or are most people just, they're okay?

Isaac Wright: If I'm going to be brutally honest, I will say that overwhelmingly everybody is ready to move forward. And again, I'm not saying that that's the right move for everybody. Again, I respect the spectrum of thought, but I will tell you nine out of 10 people are ready to get back to not feeling like they are being told what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. Being able to get outside, maybe going out, going to an event. I think people are becoming less afraid. Now, granted, that's not been the narrative for most media outlets. And again, through this election, I don't know if it's going to ramp up. I'm sure the intensity of some of this is going to get a little bit goofy. So I'm hoping by the end of the year, or maybe even again, if we get a vaccine or something that can just give people some confidence for God's sakes. But listen, if you're older and you have multiple medical problems and you're in a facility, I can totally get why you'd want to stay sheltered.

Isaac Wright: But reasonably healthy individuals, which is the majority of our families are between 45 and 70. Not only have not had any direct problems with COVID, I haven't had but just two families that I have directly talked to about losing a family member with COVID. And interestingly enough, one of them is currently fighting the fact that COVID was put on the death certificate because they feel like the person did not die of COVID, but a brain aneurysm. So just interesting takes on what I would say is a lot of people are just wondering what the truth is behind the actual figures. Not that there's not COVID, I'm not saying that, but really how devastating is this? And of course, if I were to lose somebody close to me, I'd have a whole different perspective, but listen, we have flu, we have pneumonia.

Isaac Wright: We don't even talk about any of those things anymore. It's like all that went away. And then on top of that too, I mean, granted, you can step outside and get hit by lightning and it doesn't mean you don't go outside. So that's my personal thoughts around it. But let me be clear. I am very respectful of the fact that somebody wants to stay six feet and wear an N95 mask. I mean, it's listen, everybody has the right to make their own decisions. And so I just hope that we can start skewing the, let's call it the overall progress, towards something where people feel like we're getting back to normal.

John Stillman: So from a financial and retirement planning standpoint, have you had any clients whose lives or their retirement plan has truly been affected by this? They're going to need to work longer because of the effects of everything that's happened with the economy. Have you had people that have said, "Screw it. I'm retiring early. I don't like working from home." I mean what have you seen on that front?

Isaac Wright: I would have told you that if we hadn't had the recovery in the market that we've had this year, if we were back in March with especially people that we were not working with before we had COVID, it would have been an interesting year to try to work through a retirement if somebody was down 30%, 40% of their portfolio. And that's what I've been trying to say off and on for the year is don't look a gift horse in the mouth with the way that the market has come back. It has been absolutely outrageous how much we've had a recovery. I, overall, have not seen a huge disparity of people that had to go back to work because of that situation. Let me tell you what I have seen. I've seen a lot of people be furloughed and I would say by far we've had more people call, reach out, and come in and visit with us that are skewing younger.

Isaac Wright: And I don't mean 25 years old, but again, if let's call it, people are considering retirement between 55 and 65. We're starting to get a lot more people reach out, wanting to start getting their ducks in a row between the ages of 45 and 55. And of course we allow for that, we do that. We help. And I think overall, what will come up from all of this and this craziness is a sense of, I mean, just realizing you're going to have to create some level of independent thought about your situation. I mean, again, that's to me what I would call things you can't control.

Isaac Wright: One thing you can't control is the ability to start putting together and project a plan that you have some confidence around. So that's probably been the biggest shift is probably that has been the layoffs, the changing of work that may affect them working longer, or potentially we've had a couple that were able to retire that necessarily didn't think they could. But that's been the big shift, John, is really the workforce change and what companies are doing well and what companies are packing up and closing their doors.

John Stillman: Final thing. And this might be easier to answer in retrospect. When we look back at the dot com crash, we say, "Well, here's the lesson we learned from that." Or we look back at the housing crisis in 2008-2009. Do you have a feel at this point for, what's the thing that from a financial planning perspective and an economic perspective, what are we going to take away from this era?

Isaac Wright: Wow. That's, I mean, to maybe be direct with it, I think what we'll take away from this is the fact that we're going to have to be a little bit more disciplined as a country and as individuals with decisions that we make. And the reason I say that is because our life has really been, even though we are going to... I, in my opinion, think we're going to be on the road to some level of behavioral recovery, because everybody's been flipped upside down with what they've been told what to do here for the last year, going into that at least. But I think longterm going into 2021, 2022, I hope people come out of this saying, "You know what? Obviously, I'm not going to build a depend upon politicians, the government, rules regs, but I need to start focusing on things that I can control. So if I can control what I know today about taxes versus what they may be in 10 years, because we've given away so much free money this year, that's a decision for you to be able to actually make a decision around and you have control over that."

Isaac Wright: Looking at really how you're spending in your lifestyle. I'll tell you what John, and I'll end it with this. A lot of people are starting to really realize what makes them happy. And sometimes happiness hasn't been going up to Tysons Corner and spending a ton of money at the high end stores. And a lot of these stores are not even around anymore or will be. A level of happiness is really something that now people can slow down and think about it a little bit because they, I will say most everybody has a little bit more free time, because you can't do what you used to do. It's a good time to think about that.

Isaac Wright: So, John, I hope that's helpful for everybody. It's nice to be able to have a chat with you without having a, let's call it just a direct financial conversation, but just thoughts that I see. Thoughts that are out there, how I feel. And again, how I feel may not be how somebody else feels, but I hope everybody respects my opinions, like I would respect theirs.

John Stillman: I can promise you that as long as you have me hosting this podcast with you, I will respect your opinion because mostly I'm required to, but-

Isaac Wright: Oh man, you've always, you've pushed back on me a couple of times. It's all good. I mean, listen, it doesn't mean we... Disagreement doesn't mean that you don't care and love somebody. The world's going to have different opinions. So, John, I just want you to know, I care about you, man. Want to see everybody get through this craziness. And as we muddle through some of this quagmire through the end of the year, we'll keep up with news of note for our podcasting. And hopefully everybody appreciates the time.

John Stillman: Well, it's always a pleasure to get your perspective on things. And again, if you'd like Isaac's perspective, as it relates to your own financial situation, reach out to him and the team at Financial Dynamics, (804) 777-9999, or online at Have a great week. We'll talk with you again soon on Wright Money Tips.

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