A Lesson Learned

By Sam Swift, CFA, CFP®

I’m fortunate to be part of a year-long program this year focusing on leadership. I look forward to hearing different perspectives and how I might implement the lessons across my professional and personal life. But I bring this program up not to tell you about what’s in store for me for the next year, but to relay an anecdote that serves as a nice metaphor.

The kick-off event to this program was held last week in the Phoenix area—every other participant was flying in from different parts of the country, but I was fortunate enough to be just a two hour drive away. I left late Sunday afternoon to make it in time for the kick-off dinner and let’s just say I definitely made it with plenty of time to spare. If you’ve never experienced the moment of dread when a hotel employee tells you they can’t find your reservation, it’s a real kick in the teeth. Turns out the kick-off dinner was Monday and I had arrived a day early. It was now 4pm and I was looking at staying an extra night in Phoenix or driving two hours back for the evening (simply to turn around the next day and come on back).

I called my wife who was somewhat happy to hear that I had my first major “dad-brain” moment and then sat and pondered the next move. Clearly, my drive up to Phoenix was now a sunk cost—it happened and there was no reversing that decision. When I thought about it, the question came down to this:

“Is a two hour drive worth it to spend another evening and morning with my family (and make my wife much happier for helping her with toddler duties)?”

The answer was obviously no—free night out on the town! I’m kidding, of course. The answer was an obvious yes. It was irrelevant why I was in that situation, so it became a matter of simply figuring out the ideal course of action given the circumstances. In reflection during my beautiful (not beautiful) drive back on I-10, I did spend some time thinking about how I might learn from my mistake so as not to make it again (note to self: have someone who knows what they are doing control my calendar).

There is a good lesson for everyone here on dealing with problems throughout your financial life. The series of steps that put you in certain circumstances are relevant only in the sense of what you may learn from them. For example, “I’m 50 years old and I’ve hardly saved anything”. I’m guessing there are some regrets for someone making that statement and hopefully they’ve learned some valuable information that can help them going forward, but they are where they are. Dwelling on the past in this case will often serve only to hamper future efforts to better the circumstances. This is even more true for tough circumstances that appear through no fault of your own: “I did everything right and then the market crashed,” for example. It’s easy to fall into the trap of “How did I find myself here?” but far more productive to focus on “What can I do to solve this?”

To cap off my story, it was well worth the extra drive to see my wife and son (they even pretended they were happy even though I know they were mad I ruined their night on the town). Plus I was able to turn an embarrassing moment into a blog post, so that’s something too. All’s well that ends well.

 

Tucson

4011 E. Sunrise Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85718
Phone: (520) 733-1477
Fax: (520) 733-1488

Scottsdale

6929 Greenway Pkwy.
Ste.150
Scottsdale, AZ 85254
Phone: (480) 991-0401
Fax: (480) 991-0574

Flagstaff

150 W. Dale Ave.
Ste.1
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Phone: (928) 226 -0868

Reno/Tahoe

4757 Caughlin Pkwy.
Ste.B
Reno, Nevada 89519
Phone: (775) 746-6255
Fax: (775) 746-6254

Santa Fe

215 W. San Francisco
Ste.202C
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Phone: (505) 982-3808

Denver

1228 15th St.,
Ste.300
Denver, CO 80202
Phone: (303) 296-2196
Fax: (303) 623-1144

Santa Monica

312 Arizona Ave.
Office 302
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Phone: (310) 319-6545
Fax: (520) 733-1488

Home Bottom #3 Widget

This is a widgeted area which is called Home Bottom #3. It is using the Genesis - Featured Post widget to display what you see on the Executive child theme demo site. To get started, log into your WordPress dashboard, and then go to the Appearance > Widgets screen. There you can drag the Genesis - Featured Post widget into the Home Top widget area on the right hand side. To get the image to display, simply upload an image through the media uploader on the edit post screen and publish your post. The Featured Post widget will know to display the post image as long as you select that option in the widget interface.

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter