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“All the Possible Options”

Angela Merkel is one of the most respected politicians of the 21st century. She served as Germany’s chancellor (i.e. their President) for 16 years. She was widely considered the de facto leader of the European Union and the most powerful woman in the world.

After Angela Merkel, Who Will Lead Germany—And Europe? | The New Yorker

Her background isn’t in law or political science or economics. Merkel has a doctorate in quantum chemistry. I don’t know what quantum chemistry is, but I guarantee it’s harder than writing a blog.

That’s why I enjoy listening to Merkel (even in translation), and this simple quote from her sticks out in my mind:

For me, it is always important that I go through all the possible options for a decision.

Angela Merkel

Your initial reaction might be: “Duh, Angela! Duh, Jesse!”

Of course she should go through all the possible options before making a decision! How else can someone make good decisions?!

But in my own life, I’ve frequently failed that task. It’s too easy to feel optimistic and only consider good options. Just as easy to feel pessimistic and only think of what can go wrong.

It’s hard to stay rational and patient. Both are required to evaluate all options with an even keel.

In Finances…

On the financial side, Merkel’s quote reminds me of what my boss, Chris, frequently tells our clients:

“Financial planning and wealth management are all about flexibility.”

Good financial planning increases a client’s future options. It gives them more options to spend. More options to give. More options to work (or retire!).

And as Angela Merkel would remind us, more options necessitate our decisions will require more time.

But that’s a good thing! Taking your time with decisions is a sign that your life is headed in the right direction. You don’t want your finances to be between the proverbial “rock and a hard place.”

I always knew this to be true. But hearing Chris explain it to our clients helped cement the idea in my mind.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax. 

– Abraham Lincoln

You don’t want to start hacking at a tree with a dull ax. You don’t want to dive headfirst into murky water. And you don’t want to drive into an unknown future without financial flexibility.

I’ve built my financial life to give myself more options. It’s how I was able to change careers.

Here’s my CNBC article on my career change.

And here’s my personal article about the risks involved.

And I write here to you hoping to give you more options. Because…

Back to Europe

…because as friend-of-the-blog Heraclitus once quipped,

Change is the only constant in life.

Heraclitus
BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Heraclitus

I’m betting your goals seem so important and well-defined right now. You know exactly where you and your family will be in 3, 5, 10 years. And those goals might stay constant over the next decade.

But I bet they’ll change. It might be a small change, it might be huge. My life changed a crazy amount in just ten short years.

Having properly planned financial options can only help you. Prepare. Give yourself time. Make patient decisions. And you’ll adapt to the ever-changing circumstance of life.

Angela Merkel and Heraclitus approve.

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-Jesse

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If you prefer to listen, check out The Best Interest Podcast, or listen to me on a bunch of other people’s podcasts.

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