The Future Will Be Different

Two days ago I described how rules can describe reality but they cannot talk about certainty.  That should affect how you make decisions.

There are no rules, observations, or theories that will compel the future to behave in a certain, predictable way.  Thus the need to review your plans and make appropriate revisions.

Planning is a process, it is not an event.  It is never complete until the goal is achieved and even then there is no way you can know ahead of time the goal sought will have meaning for you. So,  two problems. 

Success in life means to close the gap between the things you want or need and the resources with which you get those.  The movement is two-way.  One side of the goal involves getting more resources, the other involves evolving the goal to a proper place.

Planning and the achievement of a goal have certain difficulties.  These have been known for a long time.  We ignore wisdom to our peril.

“No great thing is created suddenly.”

That thought is from Epictetus and is 1900 years old.  Impatience is not helpful.  It will harm less if the goal is trivial. Investors for whom accumulating wealth is not trivial should notice all great investors are patient investors.  They know time is a crucial element of their plan.  

Do they then create a plan and ignore it for a long time?  They do not.  They keep track and modify their plan, their tactics and goal as events unfold.
A thought on planning from Ian E. Wilson describes why.

No amount of sophistication is going to allay the fact that all your knowledge is about the past and all your decisions are about the future.

You cannot get it right ahead of time.  All decisions require the ability to change to meet circumstances discovered as they move toward the future.  You can never know everything that will be true in the future.  Much of it has never happened in the past.  Change is a problem for many.

Change is chaotic and people generally do not enjoy chaos.  Chaos though is a necessary part.  The extent that it seems chaotic is a measure of how much more we must learn.  Change is defense and thus work.

No plan ever works without modification.  The interface between the plan and the real, changing world is just too complex.  Our defense is to be aware of what happens within our plan, compare to what could happen given the new circumstances we find, and then revise our approach.

Be aware of both sides.  Do you still want or need the same things?  If not, there is little point to pursuing them.  Reallocate the resources to things you do care about.

The real world side and what it offers is more complicated and you might benefit from advisors’ input.  Tax law, for example, changes often and you are not likely to find out what it means by yourself.  Investment opportunities and structures change too.  You can do it yourself, but there is no way to tell if you have noticed everything you should.

Seek help. Integrate change into your plan. Reach your future with the least turmoil.

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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