By Brad Thomason, CPA
Let me tell you briefly why we do what we do; the Win we’re after, so to speak.
People aren’t born knowing how to plan and execute a successful retirement. Nor, once they learn that retirement is a thing, do they get to the point of really understanding what it’s all about in one step. Clearly, there’s a process. Our interest is in supporting and encouraging people who have decided that going through that process is important and worth the effort.
But I run into trouble when I try to pick a term to describe a person who has been through that process and reached the other side.
That’s because all of the terms that would be sensible carry a lot of connotation and maybe even some unavoidable judgment.
Shall I call you informed? Shall I call you enlightened? Shall I call you mature or fully developed or rigorous of thought? Shall I say you get it?
And what about the beginning state? It’s not your fault that you didn’t come out of the womb an expert (oh, I forgot to propose calling you an Expert just a second ago; sorry about that). But what do we call that state? Immature? Ignorant? Clueless? Doesn’t get it?
They all fit, factually speaking. But they don’t sound very nice; and insulting folks, on purpose or otherwise, isn’t part of the mission.
So you see, this is sort of a moment where words – or at least a concise label – fails.
In any event, the take away is that there’s a process out there, and it includes going through stages of no information, to learning to reject bad/incomplete information, and ultimately becoming aware of the actual things you need to know and understand to move confidently and competently towards the goal.
If you are early in that process, I don’t want a choice of words on my part to be offensive or discouraging. So I’ll just say I’m glad you’re on the path.
If you have reached that later stage, I don’t want heap on too much implied praise via some vaunted title, because that may distract from the fact that knowing is a key precursor, but it signals the start of the real hard work, not the end of it. Knowing what to do and doing it are not the same.
In the final analysis, we do this work because we are interested in people who are engaging in the process. That goes for folks at either end, and all along the way. There are some problems in talking about it with neat, clean verbiage. But if you are aware of the process I’m describing and already engaging with it, you probably don’t need such specifics in the first place.
Just keep at it. And, good work.
Older blogs (2015-2017)