Effort Does Not Solve Every Problem

The Toronto Raptors have acquitted themselves well against the Cleveland Cavaliers and a reason is that they have learned how to penetrate the Cleveland defense.  There is a lesson there.

In all of our financial lives there is the binary system of offense and defense.  Most of our money goes to maintaining order in our lives.  Have a budget so we do not overspend, go to work, make the mortgage payment, pay the credit card bill, buy the groceries, get the car repairs completed, have the lawn sprayed and fertilized, pay for the kid’s soccer.  A near endless stream.  That is defense.  Do them well, good things do not necessarily happen, but bad things are avoided.

Offense is build wealth.  Invest, defer taxes, develop another income stream or advance education.  Also, all good.  Working hard is part of it, but not all of it.  Some problems cannot be worked to death.

As Cleveland is finding with Raptors, great offense won’t make up for weak defense.  So think it through.  How can I use better defense or maintenance to win in the end?

There is a hint in an ESPN story about the series.  “The Cavs are trying hard, but effort without precision can lead to the same bad results as laziness.”  Precision is very hard to acquire in financial matters because there are so many things to know about.  There is no realistic way to keep up.  The best option is to delegate and focus efforts on the things that will pay off.

Think about your investment portfolio.  Hard work won’t make it better unless you work on the things that matter most.  Most people don’t know which those are.  Value versus growth.  Passive versus active.  Domestic versus foreign.  Fixed income versus equity.  Tax avoiding or not.  High fee or not.  Not an easy palette.

The difference is as between effective and efficient.  If you do all the right things, but fail to do them well, the results will disappoint you.

The hard question is, “Are you better off working on effective and hiring help for efficient?”

Judging by the result last night, people adjust when they must. The Cavaliers were quite formidable.

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.  don@moneyfyi.com 

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