February 16, 2018

The More Things Change…the More Things Change

Nothing is more constant than change. We all know that, simply by living our lives. And most of us worry about it. For example, despite the incredible gains the stock market achieved last year and the unflappable confidence of industry and business communities nationwide, people still worried. Every day on the evening business news, reporters asked concerned questions of the financial experts and industry leaders: “But why hasn’t X, Y or Z impacted the S&P 500 and other markets?” And they kept on asking throughout the course of 2017.

Yet, seemingly in spite of all the political turmoil, natural disasters and other national and world events last year, the markets climbed higher. We are now in a corrective time, and no one can predict the future, but the point is: change is constant. Stock markets go up and down. People’s circumstances change. What matters is how we deal with, and prepare for, the changes.

Living life involves making a series of choices, most of which involve some type of risk. Should I drive through the snowstorm today? Should I invest in that mutual fund? Should I hire more workers? Do the risks outweigh the benefits?

With everyone so worried about change, you can imagine people are studying it. Travelers Insurance has been tracking the worries of both businesses (since 2014) and consumers (since 2013). The overall news about these worries is positive. Fewer consumers and businesses believe that the world is getting more risky than in previous years. But the items of concern remain essentially the same as in previous years.

In 2017, consumers and businesses were most concerned about money. For businesses, two of the top three worries centered on rising medical costs (No. 1) and the increasing costs of employee benefits (No. 3), according to the 2017 Travelers Risk Index. For consumers, financial worries focused on concerns about having enough money to pay bills, ability to avoid or pay down debt, ability to retire and job stability and security.

Insurance products are meant to cover people’s risks. To help pick up the pieces when things go wrong. These policies are there to protect us, our loved ones, our businesses, and our home, car and other possessions from some of the risks we all face in life. Risks that can create very costly and even devastating consequences if adequate coverage is not in place. Examples include fires, car crashes, business losses and countless other scary scenarios.

However, if we look at risk logically and get help when we need it, we can avoid problems. This is true in any area of life, but particularly in situations that involve health, safety and finances. Remember to ask for help. With smart planning and good advice from the experts, we can sleep a little more soundly knowing that when life’s circumstances bring problems, we will fare a lot better if we have the right protections in place. Change is constant, but worry doesn’t have to be.