By Brad Thomason, CPA
You know that old bit about not shooting the messenger? Being a person who has played the role of messenger any number of times throughout my career, it will probably come as no surprise to you that I'm particularly attuned to that principle.
One time I was talking with a client who didn't like what I had to say. In a rather aggressive tone, he led out with, "Well, to hear you tell it…"
I just put my hand up and said, "Hold on buddy, these are not my rules."
If you took a poll you'd likely find that the general public believes the advisory business to mostly be about telling people stuff they didn't know.
In my experience, that happens less frequently than reminding people of things they in fact do already know, but are just not paying attention to in the current moment.
At some level this makes the job of advisor more difficult, because as soon as you point it out, the person you are talking to gets embarrassed that they didn't remember - because of course they did know it - and that puts them in a bad mood which often gets directed back in your direction. They say things like, "I'm not an idiot." The signs are clear.
In any event, a long retirement is expensive. The more you save the lower the rate of return you'll need to get to the target. Sometimes investments don't work out as hoped. People focus on what you got wrong or didn't do, more so than the stuff you got right. And so on. Not because I say so. But just because that's the way it is.
A common trait that I have noticed among people who have done pretty well - whatever that means in the particular context of how that person is interacting with the world - is that they look at things that are difficult, or unpleasant, or time-consuming, or expensive, and they make that face and shake their heads a little bit. They utter some version of I-would-prefer-it-not-be-this-way/that-stinks. Then they add, "Guess I better get on with it," and they work on through to the other side.
On the other hand, people who don't seem to do so well always seem to be able to tell you why it's reasonable and understandable why they were unable to get the win; and often enough tell you who insulted or offended them along the way by not being "understanding" or "supportive."
There's enough inherent bias in this composition that I'm sure you don't need me to make a lengthy summation. Making progress in the world requires certain costs and efforts. Spending your time spiraling endlessly around how awful that is, or being mad at the people who point out that that's the way it is, will never produce as much for you as as shrugging your shoulders and trudging forward, one step closer to the end goal.
Older blogs (2015-2017)