What If? Is A Valid Question

The ability to decide is crucial.  Drifting and procrastination and waiting for a sign, work against you.  Too many variables remain in play.

Control comes from a web of decisions with resources appropriately applied.

There are conflicts.

We live in a world of limited resources.  Time, money, energy, skill being the common ones.  Every decision to do something is automatically a decision to not do some other thing.

Some people have trouble with that.  Procrastination comes.  They cannot make conflicted decisions, so doing nothing seems like an answer.  Doing nothing is a decision and it is sometimes the right choice, but it is usually poorly analyzed. 

Doing nothing takes up too much mind space.

You overcome indecisiveness by having standards and priorities.  A thing fits or it does not.  Dismiss the “does not fit” part and life becomes clearer.  Compare to a standard.  Like a marking key.

Start with decision structure.  All have the parts, “What do I want?”  “What do I have to get it with?”  “Why this as opposed to something else with the same resources?” and “How to implement?”

Methodical planning automatically removes the unimportant.  No need big enough to justify the resource. Method often drives you to a point where the decision is self-evident.

A worthy question around this time in the process is “What if?”  What if things that must happen do not? If there are potentially adverse “what if” conditions like, I cannot work, then an additional component of the plan must include a way to deal with that. Insurance being the common and efficient choice.

There are few people I know who are risk seekers, but there are many that accept risks that they do not fully understand.  As advisors, it is a duty to help people understand the nature and consequence of existential risk.  People in the prime of their career “should not” be forced to stop working by illness or injury, but some are.  Young people are “not supposed” to die, but some do.  Look at the obituaries in your alumni magazine.  There will be a half dozen or so deaths of people under 40 in every edition.  What if it is you?

Of the resource that achieves the important plan, it is prudent to allocate a little toward the what ifs.  From a manager’s viewpoint, it expands the probability that the plan will work.  If not the intended Plan “A’ , then Plan “B”  – the backup.

All good plans have a discussion of the what ifs.

Contact: don@moneyfyi.com  

Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is now with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario.

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