Understand Meaning

People seem a little inept at planning.  Financial planning in particular eludes many, even though there is a vast amount of print  and TV verbiage devoted to it. I think there is a reason.

People have a vast supply of data and information and a similarly large void of knowledge and meaning. Relying on external information is a trap.

There is a profound difference between information and meaning. – Warren Bennis

Data becomes information once it is known to be true and information becomes knowledge once it becomes part of a larger package of connected and contextualized information.

Information is not enough because it is unconnected. Knowledge is better, but still too sterile. Meaning is the goal. Meaning is something you can use to make better decisions.

Meaning has two sides and many people don’t notice. There is what you see and hear and what is your side.

From the external side, the prime lending rate is 2.7%. Fact, therefore information. The knowledge part is a little more tentative. What has it been and under what circumstances? What may it become in future? How does that affect economic and business decisions? What economic, government and business decisions affect the rate? Worthy questions. They provide some meaning, but only from the external side of the question.

The other side is about me. If I owe nothing and intend to owe nothing, then I may not care about the cost of borrowing, but be very concerned about the income I can receive from bonds, annuities and other fixed income investments. This meaning is unique to me.

Good decisions can happen where my meaning and the general meaning mesh. There is no sound decision that can exist before then. No matter how much information I have, I cannot make a good decision without connecting up the external to what I am trying to do, when, and what I have to do it with. Absolutely guaranteed correct information, and even knowledge, are useless until the connection to my situation becomes visible.

Be cautious reading articles and watching television gurus. They only show you the external part of the case. Understand your side too.

Hold the thought that good solutions are not good solutions if they solve none of your known problems. That someone else could use them wisely and well, says nothing about your opportunity. People often sell solutions that sound good but don’t help you.

Inability to see meaning wastes time and money. It is confusing and becomes unsettling. Advisors should help clients understand meaning when addressing methods. Clients should understand their own meaning before seeking methods.

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  866-285-7772

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