The Magic Certainty Button

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In my experience, one of the biggest obstacles to someone progressing with financial planning is a lack of certainty.  It is so often that I hear 'but Georgie, how can I make a plan when I have no idea what is in my future?'.  Yes, it's true, we cannot predict the future.  But it has always been true and will always be true.  We can never have certainty.  Carl Richards (a.k.a. The Sketch Guy) puts it beautifully in his sketch below:

What we do have however is the ability to act rationally under this uncertainty.

Carl Richards writes:

"So let’s stop hoping to find the magic certainty button. It doesn’t exist. At some level, we must learn to be O.K. with the inevitable risk of simply being alive."

It can be easier said than done.  Carl Richards suggests making a list of all the things that matter to you that you can control.  Things like:

  1. How much you have saved for retirement
  2. How much debt you have
  3. How healthy you are
  4. The state of your important relationships
  5. How much you enjoy your job.

Then look at your list and put a mark next to everything that you have addressed, to the best of your ability.  The things you haven't addressed, go to your diary and put a corresponding entry in, sometime over the next few weeks.

"Any time you start to feel fear or discomfort creep up again, just go back to that list, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you have done everything you can. Then, repeat after me: “I need to let go of the rest. I need to let go of the rest. I need to let go of the rest.”

Read Carl Richard's full article in the NY Times here.

And if going through this process makes you realise your financial life needs some attention (e.g. that cash is STILL sitting in my bank account), drop me a line.  You will feel so good being able to tick it off your list.