Notes from the Field 003

Notes from the Field 003

“Notes from the Field” is a weekly collection of thoughts or ideas I’ve had and resources I’ve found through the week that I want to share. I love doing this and hope you like it too. If you come across anything that is interesting or thought-provoking, please send it along! 

Thoughts on Spending

Morgan Housel of the Collaborative Fund wrote a piece about how conservation and efficiency are often more effective at achieving our goals than more traditional paths. A part that I thought was particularly relevant for people at or nearing retirement is below:

The hard part is becoming satisfied with spending less. It’s not easy. It’s a behavioral trait, not analytical skill, and investing attracts more of the latter. Some are better at it than others, but virtually everyone is primed to at least assume they’ll be happier if they spent more.

For me it’s been realizing that what makes people happy is having options – doing what you want, with who you want, when you want, where you want. And options come from savings and assets, which are the opposite of spending.

There is some serious truth here for people transitioning to retirement. Containing expenses, particularly discretionary expenses, can cover a lot of mistakes in retirement. As an add-on, consider (re)reading my post on the importance of Saving in your 60’s.

Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds

I’m endlessly fascinated by psychology, so naturally, this article by James Clear piqued my interest. In it, he writes:

Convincing someone to change their mind is really the process of convincing them to change their tribe. If they abandon their beliefs, they run the risk of losing social ties. You can’t expect someone to change their mind if you take away their community too. You have to give them somewhere to go. Nobody wants their worldview torn apart if loneliness is the outcome.

He goes on:

The people who are most likely to change our minds are the ones we agree with on 98 percent of topics.

If someone you know, like, and trust believes a radical idea, you are more likely to give it merit, weight, or consideration. You already agree with them in most areas of life. Maybe you should change your mind on this one too. But if someone wildly different than you proposes the same radical idea, well, it’s easy to dismiss them as a crackpot.

This idea makes me look at the world of politics in a whole new light. It’s why almost all political conversations are so heated and divisive. It makes total sense.

Perhaps a better way to view the world is through the lens Paul Saffo calls, “Strong opinions, weakly held.” Having a willingness to change our viewpoint is a rare quality. It requires the curiosity to listen (without preparing an immediate rebuttal) and a truly open mind — both of which are rare finds.

If I only had the time…

People recently have been asking how I have time to write as much as I do. For a while I just said, “I don’t know, I enjoy it so I just do it.”

Eric Barker, author of the book Barking Up the Wrong Tree was asked a similar question about how he has time to read so much. His answer perfectly sums up my thoughts. He said:

“The things that are not reading, do them less. The things that are reading, do them more. The End.”

I don’t just want to want to write. (That was not a typo.) I actually enjoy writing so I do it. If there is something you truly want to do, the only option is to make it a priority over less important things. For one, I don’t watch much TV so that’s where I find most of my time. It’s really as simple as that.

If you don’t pay for the product, you ARE the product.

I’ve been struggling the last few weeks over the decision whether to get off Facebook (and their subsidiaries Instagram and WhatsApp) entirely or stay the course. My only initial reticence was from a business perspective rather than personally. In any case, this past week a couple of readers sent over a few links about the long and deceptive story of Facebook. I have heard these types of stories regarding the lengths Facebook has gone to increase profits by selling their users’ personal and private information (unauthorized information in many cases) but I more or less ignored them.

Given the articles that were sent over, you could say I have reached the end of my rope. I’m not sure why I waffled given my belief system. I probably stayed on longer than I should have, but as I stand now the time has come to remove myself from the world of Facebook.

This isn’t necessarily an encouragement for you to do the same, but check out the articles below to inform yourself at a minimum. They are pretty unbelievable and I wanted to be sure everyone saw them. Time for me to pull the rip cord.

Facebook Data Privacy Scandal: A Cheat Sheet

Facebook Didn’t Sell Your Data; It Gave It Away

The fall of Facebook has only begun. The platform is broken and neither human nor machine can fix it.

Quote I’m Thinking About:

Pain is inevitable in this life, but suffering is optional.

-Haruki Murakami

Thanks for reading!
Ashby Daniels

If you’re looking for a retirement planner to help you make a comfortable transition into retirement and want to see if we’re a good fit, reach out to me and my team at Shorebridge Wealth Management.

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