Apathetic Ignorance

Apathy is defined as a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.  Ignorance is a lack of knowledge or information. Apathetic ignorance can then be defined as a lack of interest in knowing.

When it comes to wine, I don’t know and I don’t care that I don’t know. Others may feel that way about sports. That’s okay when it comes to sports or wine but is it okay when it comes to financial planning?

When using a realtor to buy a house, it’s common for the commission to be around 6%. So, for a house that costs $100,000  you will pay around $6,000 in commissions. What if I came to you and said I would only charge you 2% or $2000. You in? Let me tell you the rest of the story, and let’s see if you’re still in. Next year you will pay me 2% and you will continue to pay me 2% every year for as long as you own the house. You still interested in my “discount”?

If you’re fortunate, the value of your house increases over time. Sometimes you are unfortunate, and the value of your home declines. Did I have anything to do with either of those scenarios? Would you have been better off paying me 6% up front or 2% annually?

While this sounds ridiculous, this is what millions of people agree to every year when it comes to financial planning. Would it be a better deal if the realtor met with you for an hour once or twice a year? Did your house go up more than the houses around it based on the advice of the realtor? Did your house lose less value than the houses in your area? Did the realtor have anything to do with it?

How much is remaining apathetically ignorant going to cost you?

 

 

Focused Control

Understanding this is a key to either success or failure whether you are on a baseball field, planning for your future financially, trying to lose weight, or life in general. Baseball has been a part of my life either as a player or a coach since I was 5 years old. I’m almost 47 now. It wasn’t until my 11th year coaching that this finally clicked. If I had understood this at an earlier age, I might have played longer than I did.

There are things that we can control and then there are things that we can’t control. Focusing on what we can’t control is a recipe for failure and if we continue focus on what we can’t control long enough, it will lead to misery and possibly depression.

There are parallels to my baseball career and my career in the financial industry. As a player, the beginning of the end came when my focus turned from what I had control of verses what I didn’t. The exact same thing happened in my career in the financial industry. In college as a player during my freshman year of baseball, I began to struggle for the first time. I went from starting every day to playing very little. Rather than focusing on what I had control of I began to make excuses and focused the guy starting in front of me and the coach. Neither of which I had any control over. The only thing I had control of was to do what got me there in the first place. Hours in the cage. Hours in the weight room. Running and being a good teammate. Focusing on Jeff and Coach Mewbourne did nothing to get me back in the lineup but it did lead to misery and ultimately to my failure as a player.

Focusing on what I couldn’t control also lead to the end of my financial career. I became obsessed with the one thing that I couldn’t control, the stock market. After watching people lose half of their life savings in 2008, I wanted to do everything in my power to prevent that from happening to them again. At night before I went to bed, I had to see what the markets were doing overseas. As soon as I woke up the next morning, I would grab my phone to see how the overseas markets finished and how the day was going to begin here. Constantly throughout the day, I was checking the markets. I was miserable and at home, I was distant. My wife told me this more than once, “you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. You protect them from loss, they will yell at you for not making as much money as they could have. They lose money, they will yell at you because you didn’t protect them and it’s killing you and your family is paying the price.” In September of 2017, I walked away.

Just the other day, I had a former client reach out to me, and the conversation that we had is the inspiration for this video. His exact words were, “We need to talk because I don’t want to lose what I have saved.” He went on to say, “I know there are no guarantees, but I also know that you can move it to a safe place if things start south.” What he said is both dangerous and naïve and makes him vulnerable. What he said he knows doesn’t exist, but there are plenty of salesmen that will tell him it does.

In my 18 years in the financial industry, I learned what you can control and what you can’t. Most people when they come into a financial adviser’s office will focus on what they can’t control and believe that the adviser can control what the advisor can’t. My hope is that there are people watching this video reach out to me to learn these things because knowing what you can control and what you can’t could save you thousands if not tens of thousands in fees and prevent you from becoming a victim because of ignorance.

Take a moment now and think. What do you have control of and what do you not have control of? Which do you focus on? For athletes, do you have control of the person that you are competing against on the other team or the person on your team who you are competing with for a position? No, so don’t focus on them or what they are doing. Focus on what you have control of and that is you!  If you get beat, learn from it, use what you learned, and go back to work.

In planning for your life financially. Learn what you have control of and what you do not. If you don’t know what to focus on, Mickey Ellison, Inc exists to teach you.

If you want to lose weight, focus on what you can control. This is one of the few things that I have done and have maintained. In a future video, I will share with you how I’ve done it and why I’ve been successful. It’s something I call The Process, and it applies not only to weight loss but is vital for athletes and in life.

Finally, what do you focus on? That which you can or cannot control. Things are going to happen that we have no control of but how we respond is in our control. Nothing can change the past, so don’t let your past dictate your future. Focus your control because what you focus on will control you. And, what you can’t control, leave to God.