Sunday, January 9, 2011


Prioritizing Basket Cases

Happiness is ‘getting what you want’ until what you wanted wasn’t ‘enough’ (again)
A Schwartzism
(Which Is Why Equanimity- Rising Above The Good & The Bad - Is Preferable)

Typically, you can’t have it all in life nor in personal financial life planning. Even, when all the personal financial life goals are funded, there is another uncertainty whispering in your ear causing a reversion to seeking ‘more’ just in case (even if it means sacrificing what you have – even enough – for what you don’t need.) The ‘just in case’ becomes a cushion (just in case), moving the goal posts (just in case), and “maybe we should think ofs this eventuality (just in case). Just in Case is an Rx for Basket Case.
So instead of just funding the personal financial life goals (and assuming you are clear on what your mission is and is not – and it isn’t ‘snot’ platitudes), whether your goals are funded or not – let’s delve into the payoffs (what is really gained and what is avoided) behind each financial goal (i.e. remember FU-ability??) Let’s see the real weave behind the Basket Case.

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive”
Sir Walter Scott


Spin #1 Prioritizing Your Objectives As Named (Hypothetical Do Your Own)

Hypothetically, below is the result of a three phase forced choice analysis. (Force choice analysis is done by listing the choices and giving each a sequential numerical value. Assuming there were 6 goals, you would choose between goal #1 and goal #2, goal #1 and goal #3, goal #1 and goal #4 and continue this process until you have chosen between goal #5 and goal #6. Count the choices for each goal and there is your ranking. Here is the first spin:

Value/Goal Chosen

3.- Slow Down Income
4.-Income Adequacy Disability
5- Income Adequacy Spouse Upon Your Death
6.-Asset Disposition according to Desires

(Your Rankings?)

Spin #2 Re Prioritizing #1 by Payoff (What Is Gained By Achievement of Each Goal)

When the payoff (what was to be gained by each goal) was ranked instead of the name of the goal the priority changed - the results:

Independent of Work (Retirement) 5
More time for self (Slow Down Income) 4
Kids on own –independent (Education) 3
Spouse independent of work 2
(Income Adequacy Spouse Upon Passing)
Legacy (Asset Disposition by Desire) 1
Don’t Depend on Kids 0
(Income Replacement Upon Disability)

(Your rankings of positive payoffs?)

Spin #3 Re Prioritizing #2 by Payoff (What Is Lost If Each Goal Is Not Achieved)

FU ability not Beholden, Dependent
(Income Replacement Disability) 5
(Retirement Income) 4
(Income Adequacy Spouse) 3
Not Take as Much S**t 2
(Slow Down Income Prior to Retirement
Relief – End The Dole 1
(Education Kids)
Remembrance (they’ll waste it anyway) 0
(Asset Disposition According to Desires

(Your rankings of negative payoffs?)

Rabbi Hillel when asked to tell all of Judaism while standing on one foot said to paraphrase, “don’t do unto others what is unpleasant to you.” Real prioritizing of those unspoken values underneath the goals name (sort of like saying steak instead of Elsie The Cow) is unpleasant but real.
Now go rank (literally and figuratively) and prioritize.

Personal Financial Life Planner’s Cut

Talmudic story.
Two boys go to the movies.
Spotting an open door that would allow them to get in free to their show, one of the boys snuck in.
The other boy paid his way.
After the movie, the two got together. The sneak made fun of the his friend who paid for his ticket saying, “I looked left and right – east, west, north and south – and there was nobody to catch us. So why didn’t you sneak in with me.”
“You forgot to look up,” replied the boy who ‘paid.’

We all pay – it’s just a question of when. So platitude and motherhood goal statements are typically laziness, delusion or lies to others (worse to oneself), and failing to look up.

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