Society seems driven by the impossible task of eliminating uncertainty from life.
- We buy insurance
- We plan our days
- We structure our lives
…and all in the vain attempt to remove as much risk as possible.
For many people, any amount of change can be so frightening that it robs them of the ability to enjoy life. However, by combining wise financial planning with the equally wise understanding that risk can be reduced, but never eliminated, you’ll find that your ability to remain calm in life’s sea of uncertainty greatly increases.
As noted financial writer John Mauldin said,
Investors want to believe that certainty is possible, that crunching the right numbers or listening to the right guru will reveal what lies ahead. The idea that markets are inherently messy and disorderly frightens them. It’s much more comforting to think that someone out there has a crystal ball that you just haven’t found yet.
As a financial planner, I absolutely think that planning is worthwhile, even valuable! CLICK HERE for a convenient chart outlining the estimated value of various planning activities, compiled by our friends at KITCES.com.)
When I think of anxiety driven by uncertainty, the 1989 movie Parenthood always seems to come to mind. You may recall that Steve Martin plays a neurotic father of three, whose oldest son has inherited his dad’s neurotic tendencies, while the youngest likes to butt things with his head. In the final scene, Martin has just quit his job, when his wife gives him the unexpected news that a fourth child is on the way. Following is a portion of the movie’s script:
[Gil has been complaining about his complicated life; Grandma wanders into the room]
Grandma: You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster.
Grandma: Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride!
Gil: What a great story.
Grandma: I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn’t like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.
After the above exchange, in a particularly chaotic moment in the house, Martin begins to hear the sound of a roller coaster in his head. At first, he appears frightened. But then a smile comes to his face, and you can tell he is enjoying the ride.
Life is like that. There will always be uncertainty. You might as well plan for it – because you have to learn to live with it.
Personally, I find myself white-knuckled on the roller coaster of life all too often. If you feel the same, I want to share with you how, over time, I’ve learned to raise my hands and enjoy the ride!
Let me show you how my Stewardship Coaching Program can take you to a place of genuine Abundant Living as you practice financial planning for uncertainty.