by Ken Kendall
The human brain is bombarded with information, much more than it can effectively process, and over the millennia it has learned to deal with this data tsunami by simplification.
It attempts to sort out what is important and needs to be dealt with now, from those things which can be ignored or put off till later. A problem arises when we ask, are things being sorted properly? Concrete needs or problems are easier to sort, but what about the more abstract issues that didn’t exist when consciousness was developing in our brains?
Abstractions or events that may or may not happen in the future, just don’t share the same urgency or priority as food, love, security, shelter and such. I have a friend who is a mediocre player in an amateur pool league, but he is frequently able to beat players who are more skilled than he is.
Part of the reason for this is that before he shoots he asks himself, “What will happen if…” That question forces him to set aside his first and most obvious objectives and look at what might happen in this game if he misses this shot, or if he makes it, what happens next. This exercise attempts to put more thought into his actions and gain more control over a sequence of possible events.
Something I’ve found after years of helping my clients with their financial planning is that we frequently live with a lot more risk than we realize. Sometimes we live with this risk because we either believe we can’t, or actually can’t, afford to protect ourselves from it. Health insurance has frequently fallen into this area.
Many people still try and get by without insuring their car because of the cost, to the chagrin of the rest of us. Other risks are too abstract or seem too difficult to deal with, such as the volatility of the stock market or how the world economy affects us.
Finally, there are those risks that are just difficult to deal with because of the emotional issues: death, divorce, declining health, errant adult children and so forth. I have explored these these issues for decades with thousands of clients. I don’t have all the answers, but I know how to ask the, “What happens if…” questions in a manner that will allow you to bring that abstraction into a reality that can be assessed and dealt with.
A good financial planner assists you in finding solutions to risk that make sense in your unique situation. If you think you could benefit from someone asking you, “What happens if” give me a call at the office at 972-874-8757 or send an email to [email protected] We’re here to help.