Life Is Governed By Simple Rules

In the middle ages, science advanced and came to be where most of us now understand. The newer material is not intuitive. We know about the advances by name and have no clear idea beyond that.  I doubt one in ten could explain a transistor or how a laser works.  Both of those are more than fifty years old.

Newtonian physics is like the world we live in while quantum mechanics is of this world, yet not something we can assess easily.

Both forms lead to rules that govern how things work.  Some intuitive; some not.

There are some other rules that we use to help us understand how the non-scientific part of our world works.  Here are a few and I would be pleased to have you add more.

Conservation Laws

Problems cannot be destroyed.  They merely change their form.  Having too little money is a problem.  So is having a lot of money.  Different concerns but problem nonetheless.  Woody Allen has suggested that rich is better than poor for financial reasons.  That may be the only important difference.

Risk tolerance plus experience is a constant.  People with little experience believe themselves to be bulletproof.  More seasoned souls tend to be less tolerant but more able to cope.  Part of that is because they leave learned how to deal with some of the risks. They are not tolerant of risks they cannot manage. 

Misery cannot be destroyed, it can only be passed around.  Risk is like that too.

Two-Sided Laws

Everything costs something.  There is a cost to do something and there is a cost to do nothing.  Many people stop the analysis after the cost to do something is found.  That implicitly equates doing nothing with costing nothing.  Analyze the do nothing decision too.  Then decide.

The decision to keep a security at a given price is analytically similar to the decision to buy it at that price.  If you keep it you have the security but not the money.  If you buy it you have the security but not the money. Any time you would not buy a stock at a price, you should not keep it either.  In the real world there are transaction costs and taxes to consider.  Use the “I would not buy it”  idea to cue a deeper analysis.

You came into the world with nothing and you will leave the same way.  What you can do though is leave something behind.  Could be wealth, could be wise children, could be someone you helped, could be a community.  Use wealth and experience to leave some kind of reference mark of your having been here. Despite what Mastercard says, their cards are not good everywhere.


Most people will help if asked and if it is possible for them to help.  The key is you need to ask and be prepared to accept no when it happens.

We can make life complicated if we ignore the simple and unchanging aspects of life.  We can make our lives less if we envy those that seem to have something we do not.  In most cases, they have just exchanged one set of conditions for another.  Not necessarily better conditions.

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.  866-285-7772

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