I spent six years after high school training for the work of a lifetime. The preparation time since then is less concentrated so let’s ignore that. Call it six years at eight months a year. Probably 200 weeks or a thousand days. At least 8,000 hours. Maybe Malcolm Gladwell is right about 10,000 hours of preparation.
Like most professionals or business owners I expect to work more than 100,000 hours in my career.
Together with your skills, and risk, and sacrifice of other things that would have been nice, those working hours represent the economic value of “You.” We can agree that the value is quite large. Enough to pay for your living, and fund your retirement and leave something for the children. What is the total value of your career? Big number, right?
Now write 100,000 on a piece of paper.
Stroke off zeroes until you come to the number of hours that you will spend, in your lifetime, planning what to do with that very large number with the dollar sign in front of it. Be honest.
I presented this idea in a seminar once and after I stroked off a couple of zeroes someone in the back said, “Get real. Stroke off the one.” It is not far from reality for most people.
Most give the financial planning task to people who ask too few questions to find out what the client wants, do not ask enough about priorities or policies, and who supply too few options. Typically, they are quite interested in your current and near future resources.
Most people don’t do more formal financial planning because they don’t know how. Does it make sense to turn it over to strangers who have no real risk involved in the outcome?
You might want to give some thought to learning a little more about it. Your part is actually straightforward and knowing that part, you immunize yourself against weak methods from the others.
Start with the “W” questions and the first of those is “What do I want?”
Einstein has said that if he were tasked with saving the world from certain destruction one hour from now, he would spend 59 minutes understanding the problem completely and the remaining one minute would be enough to solve it. Financial planning is not unlike that.
It took 8,000 hours to be ready for 100,000 of productivity. How many hours should be reasonably devoted to efficient use of that resource? Would 100 be too many?
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.
Please be in touch if I can help you. firstname.lastname@example.org 866-285-7772