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7/6/2021 – Until It’s Not…

The older I get, the more I understand that I can't do everything.  Nor do I want to do everything.  

When I was a young man, things like changing my own oil, cutting my own grass, and clipping coupons made a lot of sense.  Save a little here, save a little there.  I could treat these activities like part-time jobs and add a little margin to my month.   As my career grew and I had more discretionary money, I was able to choose which things I truly wanted to be doing and which things were 'not worth my time.'  I am not saying that I'm now somehow "above" mundane chores.  What I am saying is that I now have a choice about how I spend my time and what I will pay for (to have it done right) and what I won't. 

If you enjoy cutting your grass, don't give someone else the pleasure of doing it. :) If you don't, that might be something you could outsource. If your time is better spent serving your neighbor or reading a good book or being with grandkids, then maybe that's what you should be doing.   Let me encourage you to step back and assess where you spend your time.  

Investing and financial planning is a unique, highly complex profession, and the outcomes have long-term serious ramifications for any household or organization.  It's hugely important to get it right.

But unlike surgery, engineering, law, or rocket science, it's an undertaking that anyone can attempt, and have some luck initially.  It's easy to open an investment account, read some articles, and start buying stocks or bonds.  It's easy to read an article about Social Security, estate planning, or retirement accounts and start making decisions about what you plan to do.

The problem is that the result can end the same as if you attempted to be the lead surgeon in a liver transplant, or chief engineer for NASA's Mars missions, or the lead counsel in a lawsuit.  Investing can seem to be easy, until it's not. And when it's not, life trajectories are irreversibly changed. Awareness of one's own strengths and where one needs guidance isn't as clear with investing and financial planning as it is in other facets of life. But it's just as poignant.  

If investment management is a true passion and feels purposeful to you, then by all means jump into the deep end. But chances are there are so many other things that make you feel fulfilled that you could spend your time doing.

-excerpted from "Afterwork" by Joel Malick & Alex Lippert