Many of life’s problems fit into a single category. They are just money. Hear Lynn Townsend, “Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive.”
“If you have a problem you can solve by writing a check, you don’t have a problem you have an expense.” Lesson 62.
Most people become familiar with this rubric and plan for it. Car repairs. No problem. Paint the living room. No problem. Clothes for school. No problem. Vacation. No problem. People have intuitively adapted a corollary to Lesson 62. If you have an expense, find a way to achieve the result at a lower cost. Notice lower cost, not necessarily lower price. Low priced tires might not be a good deal when you consider everything. A little more spent for safety and durability might work better. 25-year shingles instead of 15-year means you pay less for labour and disposal over a long time. Done right; Done once, is often cheaper.
When you don’t have the money, the problem is different. Finding the money and finding a way to keep getting it is a problem. Education, training, getting a job, getting a better job, are all possible solutions. You must have a deposit before you can write a check. If you cannot solve money sensitive problems with money, deal with the real problem. Get money.
Then there are the problems you can’t fix with money. Trust is one. Love, Respect, Reputation and Tolerance are others. People seldom get confused with the these. All must be built. All can be lost in an instant. They come to be with process and cannot be created by an event like writing a check. Understand the nature of the process and live your life accordingly.
The last kind is the more serious issue. Problems that look like money will be the answer, but it is not. Cure poverty; write a check. Cure a disaffected child; buy him a car. Cure boredom; buy a vacation, liquor or drugs. Cure lazy; hire someone. Some people and most governments like this kind of solution because they can get the money and usually they cannot solve the underlying problem quickly or effortlessly. Most social problems are deep and require generations to overcome. Poverty, disaffection and boredom are symptoms of a problem, not the problem itself.
Suppose someone presents with difficulty breathing and sharp chest pains. Would an inhaler and a strong pain-killer be the answer? Of course not. Heart attacks do not respond to symptom specific treatment. A heart attack can spawn a number of symptoms and treating them one at a time is futile.
Minimize the symptoms to the extent possible, but never believe the activity is a solution.
Treating symptoms instead of the underlying problem is ineffective and very expensive because while the money seems to address the problem it merely prolongs it. It is a huge mistake to solve symptoms. Look deeper. Find meaning. Find what causes the symptoms. Deal with what appears.
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