April 16

Coffee with Mike – From Learner to Decision Maker

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A lot of people have an idea that they want to retire, but they don’t have a clear idea what retirement looks like for them.  When we start developing a financial plan for people, we’re trying to discover their vision for retirement and help them understand what they really want to do.  That can be hard to figure out, so at first I’m doing a lot of listening to hear the values they express.  I don’t think they would ever call them "values," but what I mean are "things that are important" to them.  As I understand their values, I’m able to research what they want to know more about so they apply it correctly to their situation.  For instance, It’s not just, “When should I take Social Security retirement?”  but "what’s the best way for me to use Social Security retirement based on everything I want to accomplish and the feeling of security I want to create."  

"Not everything is essential, so we have to figure out what to pay more attention to when making a decision."

Any of us get too wrapped up in researching and learning.  Sometimes that happens to me, and when it does, it's hard to figure out which information is most essential for making the key decisions that my client should make.  So when I have a problem shifting out of "learning mode" and into "decision-making mode,"  I realize that I am getting too caught up in the learning process.  I need to say to myself “Wait a minute, I’ve done enough research, so let’s figure out what is truly essential to make this decision from everything that we’ve got based on the values they've expressed." 

I want to help others go through that process themselves.  Those who have "paralysis from analysis" cannot determine the key decisions they need to create their vision of the future because they’re not sure if they have the right information, or if they have enough information.  Being well-equipped for that from the school of hard knocks, I can teach people to recognize what they’re looking for by stating back to them the values they've expressed to me.  That's the lens they need to look through to recognize which information is essential for making good decisions for the vision they hope to create.

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