“Mistakes.” Now that’s a word that not only describes the Madoff mess (sayonara, Bernie!), but also the recent history of our economy and industry. But the question now is, have all the guilty parties learned enough from the past to not repeat their mistakes in the future?
This is a key question because it looks like the economy is improving and that maybe, just maybe, the recession will lift by late 2009 or early 2010.
When money starts flowing again, I’m concerned that people will lapse into the same bad habits that got them into trouble recently. I’m talking about spending too much, borrowing too much and letting our personal financial needs color our professional judgment. But it’s never too late for advisors to learn from their mistakes and commit to not repeating them, even if the revenue spigot opens wide in the near future.
Here are five steps you may want to take, if you haven’t already. First, give yourself a serious talking to. Admit your errors. As human beings, our capacity for self-deception has no limits. But until you admit to yourself that your life was out of synch, you will be stuck in the past and unable to move forward.