The myth of financial planning

That’s the way it usually happens… Someone will send me a document they received from their investment advisor that basically says “your money will be worth this much in 20 years.” The document uses no guaranteed interest rate. Instead, it uses hypothetical projections. 


Buried deep within those hypothetical projections are numerous assumptions… not just about how financial markets will work out over the long-term, but also… how that person’s life will work out over the long-term. The assumptions hinge on everything working out exactly as planned. Not one detail can be off. Things have to happen in the exact order they are laid out in the plan. If anything disrupts said plan, then you have to start all over again and adjust for the things that did or did not happen.

But… the financial plan doesn’t explicitly tell you how fragile it is. It simply assumes the future will work out as planned.

It’s reminds me of this whole mask fiasco. 

We were all told to wear masks to stop or slow the spread of COVID-19. This is what the shnooze media told us. Mayhaps you’ve heard this advice before?

That this for our own safety and for the safety of others. 

It was positioned as “the virus is the threat. Masks reduce the threat.”

Well, let’s think about this. 

What masks do is provide a barrier between you and the outside world. Ideally, they effectively block transmission of viruses and other baddies, but that also assumes the world is a very clean place (or at least clean enough that we have access to clean rooms to regularly change our masks when they get dirty or become contaminated, like they do in the operating room/wing of a hospital). 

…  and it also assumes we (“we” meaning every single person out there in society) are doing everything in an optimal way. The thought is if someone sneezes on you or if you sneeze or cough or whatever, then the mask provides some sort of barrier between you and others. 

Now, if you are in an area where you don’t *really* believe a viral threat is present, then masks are meaningless and probably a major annoyance.

On the other hand, if you are in an area where you suspect the virus might be (and this includes situations where you’re simply not sure and it’s a “just in case” measure), then wearing a mask is *only* effective if you follow very very strict hygienic protocols. Probably the doctors on my email list are familiar with this process. 

The CDC and WHO detail those protocols (which is basically the same as any protocol in any hospital). You basically have to act as though you’re in a highly contagious area. 

As best as I can understand this process, it involves the following:

Scrub hands in a known clean area for *at least 20 seconds*. Dry hands without contaminating them in any way… which means… dry your hands with sanitary paper towels (not those hand dryers that blow air on your hands) and… don’t touch anything else except the known-to-be clean mask you’re about to put on. 

Put on mask. 

Seal mask around face with minimal gaps. 

Ideally, no gaps between face and mask. 

Never touch your face or mask again until you are in known clean area. If anyone sneezes or coughs on you, or if you sneeze or cough or if your mask gets damp, you have to change your mask. 

Which means… go to a known clean area and repeating the process above. 

You also have to throw away the dirty mask immediately, disinfect the entire area, and then rewash/scrub your hands. 

If you have a reusable mask, you have to follow a cleaning and disinfecting process before using the mask again.

This is obviously a very arduous process, and it’s supposed to be. 

Assuming the virus poses a significant and serious threat, a failure to follow that protocol would actually increase the risk of infection, not decrease it.

That’s why ORs in hospitals follow very very specific and strict hygiene protocols. 

It’s also why, even outside the OR, hospital staff are taught very specific hand-washing and hygiene protocols when interacting with patients.

If they don’t follow those protocols, they increase the risk of spreading disease throughout a hospital. 

Point?

In order for everything to work out, everything has to be done in, basically, a controlled environment. The less controlled the environment, the more impossible it becomes to control the outcome. 

There’s a parallel here with financial planning, obviously. If everything goes according to plan, then everything works out just like it says on the spreadsheet your financial advisor gave you. 

Otherwise, it won’t. 

Which is why insurance exists. The perception about insurance is that it’s only for very risk-averse people. The reality is… life insurance (and lots of other types of insurance) allow you to take more risk. Owning insurance is very liberating. It means you don’t have to worry about the thing you just insured. And if the thing you just insured is your fture income and savings, then… that worry is off the table. no more worrying about losing that future income or savings.

ANywho, that’s enough for today. 

David Lewis

This post brought to you by //The Rogue Agent//. David has been a life insurance agent, and worked with some of the oldest and most respected mutual life insurance companies in the U.S., since 2004. Learn more about him and his business, here.

This post brought to you by //The Rogue Agent//. David has been a life insurance agent, and worked with some of the oldest and most respected mutual life insurance companies in the U.S., since 2004. Learn more about him and his business, here.