Science fiction is often described, and even defined, as extrapolative. The science fiction writer is supposed to take a trend or phenomenon of the here-and-now, purify and intensify it for dramatic effect, and extend it into the future. "If this goes on, this is what will happen." A prediction is made.
Fortunately, though extrapolation is an element in science fiction, it isn't the name of the game by any means. It is far too rationalist and simplistic to satisfy the imaginative mind, whether the writer's or the reader's. Variables are the spice of life.
-Ursula K. Le Guin
Though extrapolation is an element in Financial Planning, it isn’t the name of the game by any means. It is far too rationalist and simplistic to satisfy the imaginative mind, whether the planner’s or the client’s. Variables are the spice of life.
I joined the ranks of financial planners because of my passion for decision making. My greatest enjoyment is derived from weaving between the complexities of life while balancing living in the moment and delaying gratification. This is paired with a tremendous amount of desire to understand the incentives and hopes that drive each of us to do the things we do. We see that this is true in finance and health, two things that affect everyone. These elements meet in a quote by Atul Gawande from his book Being Mortal:
“In the end, people don't view their life as merely the average of all its moments—which, after all, is mostly nothing much plus some sleep. For human beings, life is meaningful because it is a story.”
“A story” is not an extrapolation, a plan, or a Monte Carlo. These are simply tools used to identify how certain emotions and experiences are to be manufactured. There is no objective “successful plan” or widely agreed upon default assumption for how people desire to live their lives; “variables are the spice of life.”
Money is merely a single variable that can be emphasized or deemphasized. Our goal should be to work towards an understanding of all variables and inputs – this is how we can help others make the most quality decisions.
I am letting this post serve as a reminder to myself – to practice humility in my relationships and to understand that quality decisions do not come from spreadsheets, financial models, or a CRM. Quality decisions comes from intimate, empathetic relationships.