Hard vs. Soft – What Does That Mean for Your Investments?

Today’s investors are no strangers to financial uncertainties and market fluctuations. Even so, concerns about a “hard landing”—characterized by rapid inflation, soaring unemployment, and diminished consumer spending—are unsettling, to say the least. You’ll be relieved to hear, then, that the team at Nelson Financial Planning has observed a much more moderate—or “soft”—economic landing than anticipated.

The Economics of a Soft Landing

The term “soft landing” describes an economic state where an overheated economy slows down gradually rather than abruptly. So, how did we go from everyone predicting a recession in 2023 to having a pretty strong market through the first three months of the year? It breaks down into three different areas: refinancing, diversification, and consistency.


One proactive measure that contributed to the soft landing was the trend of businesses and consumers refinancing to lock in record-low, fixed-rate loans a couple of years ago. Fixed rates offer predictability, insulating against the variable interest rates that often accompany economic turbulence. Along with moderating inflation, diminishing supply chain issues, and rising consumer spending, the fact that so many people refinanced at 3% or lower has helped the economy avoid a more severe recessionary period than originally expected.


Given that predicting market behavior is notoriously difficult, diversification remains a key investment strategy during unstable economic times. A diversified portfolio consisting of a mix of stocks, bonds, and cash provides a cushion against the volatility of individual investments. Large companies generally offer more stability than smaller entities, but a balanced investment approach is the best way to account for various scenarios.


The prevailing wisdom is that consistency in your investment strategy pays off in the long run. Timing the market, or attempting to buy low and sell high based on economic forecasts, is often less effective than maximizing your time in the market. In fact, missing just a few of the best trading days can adversely affect your investment performance in the long run. A consistent, long-term strategy is more likely to yield favorable results—and fewer headaches.

How to Navigate Estate Planning and Financial Health

Whether the economy takes a hard or soft landing, everyone can agree that we don’t like hard feelings among family members. And handling a loved one’s estate after they pass away can lead to some pretty hard feelings.

When navigating an estate plan, you’re not just looking at the numbers and legal documents; you’re confronting the delicate issues of dividing up money and property. If not handled carefully, this can be a significant point of contention among family members. Here’s how to avoid an estate planning tragedy and ensure your loved ones’ financial health after you’re gone.

Name the Right Personal Representative

The first step is choosing a suitable executor for your will. The role involves legal responsibilities and making critical decisions about distributing personal property. Choose someone who isn’t rigid in their thought process, as they may need to get creative, especially when personal belongings become a point of dispute among family members.

Create a Personal Property Memorandum

Most wills reference a personal property memorandum, a separate but related document that specifies who gets what when it comes to personal property. The advantage of having this as a separate document is that it allows for easy changes without requiring a legal process to amend the will itself. This way, if an item on the list breaks or gets lost, it’s simpler to make the necessary adjustments.

Specify Distribution Methods

To ensure personal items are distributed fairly, consider specifying a distribution method in your will. Whether it’s a lottery system, drawing cards, or sequentially numbered selections, the objective is to offer everyone an equal opportunity to claim the items they cherish the most.

Appraise Heirlooms to Help with Equitable Distribution

If heirlooms or other valuables are involved, get them appraised. An appraisal gives a numerical value to each item, helping to ensure equitable distribution among your heirs. Appraisals are also vital for tax purposes if you decide to donate anything.

Get More Financial Planning Tips from Nelson Financial Planning

With over three decades of experience in the financial services sector, Nelson Financial Planning is well-equipped to help you navigate the complexities of retirement planning and estate planning. Our unique approach combines proven methods with a personal touch, helping you change your life with a successful financial plan that provides peace of mind for the future.

To find out how you can avoid financial pitfalls and family disputes through intelligent financial planning, please contact our office in Winter Park, FL, at 407-629-6477.