Never Say Never

I’m not much of a bumper sticker guy. I don’t have one on my car now and I really don’t know which one I’d choose if I decided to get one. Maybe an egg-shaped sticker with “BWC” on it for Beacon Wealthcare. Or a yellow, diamond shaped “CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER On Board”?! I may not be into expressing myself via a sticker on my rear bumper, but every now and then, I see one that makes me laugh. In fact, just last week I saw this one strategically placed on the back door of a Honda Odyssey minivan.

Not only did it give me a good chuckle, but it also reminded me of my recent experience with asking for outside perspective. You might have read my Friday Brief a couple weeks ago where I asked for your input on what kind of vehicle my family should buy. The results of the poll suggested that we pay cash for a used Toyota Highlander. That didn’t surprise me since it’s such a practical and prudent choice. What did catch me off guard was the feedback I received via email and out on the street!

I’ve always been a big fan of asking for outside perspective when faced with a big financial decision. Without it, it’s too easy to let our egos, emotions, personal biases and lack of the complete picture keep us from making the best choice available or perhaps even cause us to make a bad one. Seeking and receiving wise counsel can often help us by filling in gaps in our data, calling us out on our inconsistencies and helping us clarify our decision-making framework. All good stuff, right? But what happens when the feedback we receive isn’t really what we want to hear?

That’s exactly what happened to me a couple weeks ago when I received your feedback on my family’s car buying decision. At Beacon, we know we have a lot of really smart people that read our Friday Brief each week, therefore, I was genuinely interested in your input when I asked for your help. What I didn’t let on in my Brief, was the fact that Crystal and I had already decided to pay cash for a Hyundai Palisade. We were emotionally invested and excited by the thought of cruising around Five Points in our new ride.

So, I must admit, I was disappointed when your emails and calls suggested that we buy a minivan. I’m not really a bumper sticker guy and I’m definitely not a minivan kind of guy! But your perspective was compelling. Based on the priorities I shared in my Brief, a minivan may well be the ideal vehicle for my family’s main method of transportation. The Honda Odyssey would be very reliable and give us more space, be safer and cost less than the Palisade.

I’ve asked for your guidance, and I’ve received it. And now the real test. Am I (really Crystal and me) willing to seek outside perspective and truly hear it? You know, actually allow it to change my mind and possibly cause me to make a decision that’s different from the one I was already emotionally invested in? I think so. But the Palisade is so much cooler than a minivan! I’ll keep you posted. Even if we end up with the Hyundai, we’ll be making a much more informed decision because of your valuable perspective. Thank you.

In the meantime, I’ve been reminded of the value of outside perspective. Especially when it comes to big, emotional, financial decisions. I hope you’ll be willing to seek counsel the next time you’re faced with such a decision. And if it’s financial in nature, I know a few people who can help!

 

Geoff Hall, CFP®
[email protected]

My wife, Crystal, and I have been married for nine years and have two kids, Cooper (8) and Rhodes (6.) When I’m not spending time with them you might find me downtown serving at our church, pushing my limits during a mountain bike ride or having coffee with a friend in the Five Points area. I've been a financial advisor for 26 years and I'm thankful for the privilege of shepherding my family of clients through the ups and down of the markets, and of life for that matter.