Doing nothing is a decision just like doing something. It pays to know the effects.
If you decide to take a drug, it may have side-effects. These can range from upset stomach to rash to liver failure to sudden death. Does that mean you should not take a drug because you don’t like the side effects?
Maybe but not necessarily. You should investigate what other medications could accomplish the treatment goal and then decide.
Lastly you might decide to do nothing. Take none. That decision has side effects too. You retain the medical problem and its side effects may include upset stomach, rash, liver failure or sudden death. Perhaps with a materially higher probability.
Life is about trade-offs.
If you actually make a decision, it will involve two parts. The thing I will get if I implement and all of the things I will not get because I used my resources in implementing my decision. Resources like time and money are not reusable. Used once and gone.
Financial planning deals with that aspect. If I save money, I cannot spend it now. If I spend it now, I may be short in the future. Each decision has side effects. Which set do you prefer?
Someone is always “insurance poor.” Could be the premium payer with a poorly designed plan. Could be the beneficiaries who have too little money to carry on. Which condition is least manageable?
Education is an interesting problem. You may not be fully rewarded for education but you will certainly not be rewarded for having none. All decisions that involve a do it or don’t question must resolve with assessment of both sides. It is good discipline.
Suppose someone says, it will take 30 years to save the money. I don’t know if I want to do that. The answer. In 30 years you will be 30 years older whether you do it or don’t. Which life do you prefer then?
Don’t let the side effects of a decision rule. The side effects of procrastinating are often more terrible and always more certain.
Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario. In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.
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