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  • Writer's pictureMatt P. Clements

The Big Short – Time to Change?

The entire financial industry has it wrong!

Recently, Ronda and I again watched academy award winning movie:  The Big Short – And yes, heads should have rolled! But more importantly to our present day: we, as a financial industry, are still focusing on the wrong things!

Let me ask you something: What’s your true currency?

I love to ask this question when I meet with a new client (or even when out to dinner with friends). You see, when I ask that question, I get one of two answers: “What do you mean?”  …Or “[X] million dollars”

The real answer to this question in my book is this:

It’s your time, your energy, your love, your wisdom, your knowledge, your ability to be present in the moment that is your true currency.

These are the values that build your life and what you leave behind as your legacy. Your money should support those core currencies – and the life that they create, not the other way around.

When we focus on the money first – on our “rate of return” over and above a life vision, we inherently constrict to decision-making based on fear of loss while losing the larger significance of money being held in service to our core values and larger life meaning.

Most people believe that having a financial investment portfolio is merely one of setting up a structure – a safe harbor for protecting one’s future – something that is set up “for us” by a financial banker (or a Merrill Lynch-type advisor as depicted here in “The Big Short”) who asks little about your values, vision, or changing circumstances – an official looking professional who takes on a kind of patriarchal role of managing something “far too complicated for you to safely handle or worry about”.

…And most of us are more than happy to relieve ourselves of our own responsibility for making sure that our money is in service to our true life currencies. And that’s a big part of how “The Big Short” was created (and will be created again if we let it).

Our financial industry is outdated. It is no longer working as currently set up. it must change. WE MUST CHANGE.  We, as buyers of financial services, must change our own attitudes and responsibility for self-reflection if we are to avoid more of the same patriarchal misalignment of service and misuse of our financial assets.

When we as financial service buyers still hold financial investment strategies separate and independent from our real life currencies (our time, our talent, our vision, our love) we lose connection, and thereby any integrated sense of control or timely decision making.

With the loss of integrated connection to our own investments as they relate to our daily life decisions, we enter into a lot of “unknowns”… and unknowns create fear:  Fear of market losses; fear of not having enough; fear making new decisions; fear of stretching and growing our lives; fear of spending our money on what truly matters.

Most of us end up putting our heads in the sand, let the “advisor” handle it, and just hope for the best. What’s just happened here? We’ve just lost power; we’ve just given it away. …Does financial concerns and 2am staring at the ceiling ring a bell?

So why can’t your traditional wire house or these robot-advisors just manage your money and you go about building your good life?

I’ll try and highlight just why this is so important:  It’s because both your life, and your finances, are organic, changing systems. They are both in flux all the time. It’s because the reality of life is that it is ever-moving and changing – and many times in unpredictable or unanticipated ways.

If both your money management and your life circumstances and values are not correctly aligned and “talking to one another” on the go, in real time, they cannot produce an effective fueling of your life. It’s that simple really.

So for example: In a life-affirming responsible approach to your investment management , you MUST know – in real time – how each life event or decision (large and small) along the way influences or will effect your overall life vision, future solvency, and immediate needs …And then, adjust accordingly and correctly in that moment.

This kind of real time financial navigation system* is the critical connector that the old paradigm stock brokers, and that the robot-advisors, are not trained – nor capable – of doing.  And that’s precisely what’s so critically missing in our financial industry today.

When I work with a client, I start with your dreams, wants, and wishes; we find that spark that makes you feel happy and excited deep inside – and then we follow that trail and build a financial plan that supports that path. This is a process of self-discovery that will last a lifetime. Each new doorway will lead to another opening that you could not have conceived of until you got to that particular next bend in the trail.

Make your money work for you clements financial Ojai California RIA

Life is ever changing; life is on the move.

A great financial strategy is a very closely attended one that is in a flexible and evolving relationship with that moving expanding life of yours.

What do you want from life? What do you want from your money? Is more always more? Where does peace of mind and the ability to experience your true life currencies all along the way fit in to your financial picture?

If you want to live your true-life currencies and experience your true wealth in life, please:

  1. Find someone who will take the time to really understand all aspects of your life; someone who will ask the small questions, who will make suggestions, and celebrate your path.

  2. Make sure they have the history and the credentials to manage your investments appropriately,

  3. and MOST importantly make them show you their process for connecting your life with your finances – in real time.

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Matt Clements – Ojai, California

I hope we never see another “Big Short” – or anything like it – played out in this country. But we are all responsible for making the change by what we accept and demand.

My advice (as a very seasoned financial investment "geek" who nearly quit the industry out of dismay for how it was being run, until I took matters by the helm and changed everything about how I approached it) is this:

  • Don’t accept anything less than an engaged, responsible, aligned and transparent ongoing communication with your advisor. Be an active partner.

  • Find an advisor who has done his/her own inner wisdom work – one who will not only expect and encourage you to find and identify your life legacy, but who will share and demonstrate those core values too.


Ask about Clements Investment Management Inc. Financial Navigation System and Setting Up Your Own Full Retirement Analysis Private Visioning Retreats.

And if you’ve not yet seen The Big Short  (or better yet,  read the original book and NY Times best seller by Michael Lewis) it’s something we should all know so we can all help avoid it happening again…


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