Saturday, February 21, 2015

The 120% ENOUGH - Charity & Tzedakah

The 120% ENOUGH - Charity & Tzedakah
According to The Sparks of Mussar (p. 223)Rabbi Chofetz Chayim’s family was supported by a store that was operated principally by his wife. The store became very successful, so the rabbi reduced the hours it was open to half the day.
            Rabbi Chofetz Chayim understood ENOUGH. .

I am going to send the angel Metatron (Metat) before you to protect you on the way, and to bring you to the Land of Israel…you should heed his voice since
 My Name is in him whatever he does, he does in My Name. 
Exodus, Mispatim 23:20-21  Torah Chumash (The Book of Exodus) Commentary Based on the Works of The Lubavitcher Rebbe

            It is noted that in Gematria (Judaic numerology) the value of ‘his name’ per the Hebrew is 314 the same as that of  My Name- Shaddai 314
            And Shaddai is defined as ‘God, God Almighty, God All Sufficient, ENOUGH.

            Per observation in myself, others, and  years of interacting with personal financial planning clients and participants in workshops, the heuristic sequence (derived from Cain ((acquisition in Hebrew)) for living, survival and or palliation out of fear of physical extinction is to acquire ‘more’ for the delusion of permanence, continuity, & certainty. The derivative progression of acquisition/more is have, do, then be. “Be” is the leftover once the having from doing (or inheriting) is secured. Thus, I’ll be after I have. And so, identification becomes being through having & doing. (There are exceptions to : Sinatra: do be, do be, do; Fred Flintsone, yabba, daba, do – but these are comedic interlude outliers)
            The pursuit of More at the expense of ENOUGH, enough, & being is rationalizes have, do, then be as there never seems to be enough only just another ‘if only’ to consider. And even if one is anchored in the personal financial planning concept of enough(sm) having, doing, precedes to be leaving Tzaddah and or charity – to being ‘the leftovers’ – the residual.
            Unlike Abel who gave to Shaddai (being ENOUGH) the first yearlings but like Cain (acquisition) who gave to God after meeting his having (i.e. after he met his ‘nut’ – hi expenses), our Tzedakah (1) and or Charity is from the net – the leftover.
            And yes, this writer is guilty as charged as well.
            There, however, may be a corridor – stepping stone intermediate method – to the eventual giving of first yearlings – regardless of meeting one’s nut.
            Recognizing man’s perceived ‘need’ for enough (though it seems enough is rarely enough as tautologically the hamster wheel of more is ‘needed’ for enough), instead of giving from the net quantify enough that is required yearly, mark this enough up 20% - The 120% enough. The result: instead of being ‘the leftover’ of a ‘good year,’ Tzedakah (1)/charity can be given ‘off the top’ as a royalty – as the first yearlings.’ This 120% enough procedure recognizes both ENOUGH and the perceived need for enough while harnessing the more/acquisition comparative Jones habituation.
            Of course, this 120% enough stepping stone toward ENOUGH would also require defining enough (and the avoided or perplexing questions of what next in one’s life if there is enough i.e. meaning IN one life) which is anathema to the hardwiring of Moreons habituation.

            After 40+ of honing, cogitating, defining, refining enough in contrast to More with the latest version being ‘healing personal financial anxiety, puttin’ money in its place, to connect to elevate to one’s significance and assignment’ the aforementioned refined still germinates the having, doing, to then be but ‘an inch is a cinch a yard is hard.’ If one moves an 1/8” it is said that God – Shaddai moves the other 7/8” of an inch
And yet there is till that not still and not small voice that says believe in Shaddai but cut the deck twice.
And that is the test (nes - in Hebrew that also means 'miracle') of ENOUGH.
  1. Tzedakah is really about obligation restoring justice rather than charity per se which it is confused with. However, a more definitive distinction is beyond the scope of this essay.
  2. enough otherwise service marked as ENOUGH(sm) but changed for distinction from ENOUGH i.e. Shaddai in this essay)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Modular vs Comprehensive Personal Financial Planning

Recently a planner made the case for 'incremental' modular planning. Inherent in the concept of modular planning is a false premise... Here are my thoughts...

Modular vs Comprehensive Personal Financial Planning

            The premise of modular financial planning is the thick by the pound comprehensive plan is not only daunting but doesn’t lead to execution. And to add to this, I might add, an inch is a cinch a yard is hard.
            However, the argument for modular planning which sequentially adds up to a comprehensive plan in increments bifurcates planning and goes against the fundamental premise of personal financial planning – of coordinating the moving parts such that one doesn’t solve one problem in isolation and creates two others (or more).
            In fact, in the past, modular planning was just spin and a re-characterization of a package sale by those in ‘financial services.’
            There is a third way – which also has the benefit of increased continuity –institutional memory of the planner and client as planners and clients move on, pass on – as the thick unintelligible plans become ignored leaving no easy trail to follow other than the shredder.

            In applying to personal financial planning,  Managing by Objectives (something 99% of planners and 100% of those teaching planners mistakenly do not include in their curricula) rather than setting the plan in just beautiful prose, creates a repetitive form – which follows a process – objective by objective. Thus, once the client goes through one objective – he or she becomes more and more familiar of ‘the thinking’ behind each objective - can easily find the answers he is looking for following  the same process for the next prioritized (or not) objective etc.
            The beauty of this approach is it not only provides an easy to follow trail of thought by each personal financial planning objective, it also cuts down on the voluminous plans which are often are just validation by size (i.e. like the old Gaines Dog Food Commercial –‘My Dog Is Bigger Than Your Dog’). (If need be to justify fee or AUM by volume – attach an appendix per each objective).

            An excerpted example – copyrighted – is attached which I employed versions of as far back as 1977 when I was a in practice as a fee only personal financial planning employing the ENOUGH(sm) process incorporating a managing by objectives approach. Of course, one can change the measures used –i.e. % probability under monte carlo etc etc in the income replacement upon disability example attached or any other objective. For those sticklers arguing over which measure etc – play the music not the note or you wind up as Warren Beatty said in Shampoo, ‘I cut so much hair, I lost my concept.’
            In the form example provided – each objective is no more than 5 pages and again the process is repetitive in presentation – which allows both planner and client to more easily track the objective.. Another benefit, by managing by personal financial objective orientation (managing goals)– this changes the model away from managing assets (external comparison to indexes etc) and back to the client’s goals. Again personal financial planning – is about managing & achieving goals – not a Trojan horse for  managing assets under management.
            Thus, with this approach, comprehensive (the ((not if)) fundamental coordinated tenet of personal financial planning) is not sacrificed in the name of modular (err renamed package sale which is not planning). Furthermore, this form can be updated and used objective by objective for the quarterly and annual meetings – becoming more and more familiar and utilizable by the client in tracking. In addition, this form – or a similar form – allows the client to manage the planner while increasing the probability of institutional memory such that if the planner leaves practice the successor planner is not having to start from scratch.

(form sent upon request to to

Sunday, February 1, 2015

"Manna" - 'Shaddai' & ENOUGH

Manna – "Shaddai" & Enough

            According to some Judaic scholars, the daily manna provided to the Israelis in the desert daily (two portions for the Sabbath when there would be no gathering) was said to satisfy the taste required of each individual. Without being too flip, one might desire the taste of trout almandine – another- the taste of chicken Kiev.
            But in all cases, the manna gathered each morning was perfectly covered with a dew to insulate it from dirt or other elements and was associated to and directly provided by God (Hashem the preferred name of no name by Orthodox Jews) without question and without the individual Israel’s preparation
Hashem’s daily manna provision was enough.
            However, should an Israeli have gathered more than enough the manna amount would restore to the enough amount. Furthermore, if the Israeli attempted to have leftovers – or try to gather more than enough (another interpretation contrary to the amount reverting) the excess (‘more’) would become uneatable infested with maggots. Thus, there was no manna for manana –for a rainy day (in the desert) – as Hashem would provide a test of man’s faith.
            When man graduated from hunter and gatherer to agrarian, industrial, and now post industrial master of the universe Silicon Valley Boulder man, sequentially his acknowledgment of Hashem as the provider and he but one who derivatively fabricates changed to ‘I did it, I own it, I provided, it’s mine.’ Somehow man forgot that it was from Hashem – the originated from ‘no thing’ who created something ‘light, air, water’ and from which something came ‘animal, vegetation, and mineral’ from which man transforms fabricates, assembles, and combines derivatively.
            Having ‘made it’ and wishing ‘to have it’ for a rainy day (desert or no desert) man stores the manna with the belief ‘the results of MY efforts will be there’ in the future rather than faith in Hashem that he has and will provide or at least just in case ‘he (Hashem) doesn’t provide, is busy, and or has had it with man(not)kind.’

            Now one of the first names used for Hashem in Torah is Shaddai which means God, God Almighty, God All Sufficient, Enough.
            However, in contrast, there is no name/synonym for Hashem that directly means More.

            Stipulating & acknowledging my own obvious lack of faith, and therefore, this writer has written, practiced, taught the concept of Enough (as in providing to not sacrifice what one needs for what one doesn’t need, etc..) in contrast to More (which has a habit of becoming ‘less, worse, later’) in personal financial life planning now going on 40 years.         
Specifically, this ‘enough’ has been sequentially defined and refined over the years from ‘clientele realizable goal determination coordinated with orderly plans for the desired payoffs,’ to ‘a process aligning personal resources with life goals,’ to finally, ‘healing personal financial anxiety, puttin’ money in its place to connect to elevate to one’s significance.”
            Yet, all the above refinements are derivatives have failed to acknowledge who is the essential Enough providing the manna that we derivatively fabricate – Shaddai.
            ENOUGH Personal Financial ‘Life’ Planning(c) would require acknowledgment in Hashem as in ‘healing personal financial anxiety, puttin’ money in its place to connect to elevate to one’s specific assignment of significance from Shaddai.”
CHEWish On This© Enough Redefined

Note to my non Jewish friends: 1) I can only write from a Jewish perspective the above.