I love analogies especially when there sailing, golfing or travel analogies.
Why? Maybe it's from past echoes from my days as a teacher but probably more likely because financial planing and finance jargon is so very boring and often complicated.
Today's analogy and life lesson is about vehicles and their ongoing care and maintenance.
The last service for my car was due at 36,000 km. By 37,980 km as of a couple days ago I still hadn't taken my car in for a service. That was until the air conditioning stopped. Now you might be thinking this is not an issue, but I live in Cairns and hot is an understatement.
During our summer up here; which it currently is, our lives are lived in air conditioned comfort. We travel between our air conditioned home, in our air conditioned car, to our air conditioned office, gym, shopping restaurant.... everything is done with air-con.
Trust me living without air conditioning is not an option; that is unless you like the the feeling of needing a shower after just stepping out it because you're already dripping with sweat.
Back to our vehicle maintenance life lesson.
At first I thought we could tough it out (wrong answer) and have the car serviced after my upcoming holiday (in a weeks time). Not an option was Roz's advice (A.K.A. happy wife happy life). So into the garage our car went.
The car was serviced the next day and as expected they found a leak in the air conditioning. At this point I would like to add a huge thank you to Nick at Midas Cairns who was super helpful and makes me want to come back and get my car serviced, on time and every time in the future with them. Nick also pointed out that the the car is still under a new car warranty and arranged for the local dealer to fix my air-con ASAP. Thank you Nick.
So once again I learned another lesson from first hand experience. The important lesson of maintaining and servicing our our "vehicle". That is unless we prefer Box B i.e. avoidance which often also entails being hot and bothered and more costly to us in the long run.
The importance of vehicle maintenance on our journey towards living our ideal life.
Let's now compare our "wealth vehicle" to that of our car vehicle. Why? Because it's both a useful and empowering analogy, to remind us of the importance of ongoing maintenance.
The lesson? Regular maintenance, insurance and driving our vehicle responsibility ensures greater peace of mind, feeling of greater safety and control. While lax maintenance, inadequate insurance, lacking driver skills and responsibly directly increase our risks and potential for catastrophic consequences.
It's the same when it comes to our finances. Both require money, time and skill, however for the moment lets get back to our car.
Here are some questions you might like to consider if you're interested in taking a peak under your hood:
- Do you own a car?
- Do you service the car yourself and/or have it serviced at least annually?
- Do you maintain the car yourself (wash, vacuum, etc) minimum monthly?
- To what level is your car insured?
- What are the expectations of your car? (safety, efficiency, comfort, robustness)
- How have you purchased you car? (loan, lease, fully owned)
- Have you taken additional driver training courses?
I believe how you answer the above will determine your next course of action
- You trust in our own skill, knowledge and experience, self insure and or do the work yourself.
- Be responsible by doing the basic work but delegate specifics to specialists i.e. insurance, mechanic
- Delegate 100% the job to some you can trust i.e. their profession and legal duty to do the work for you.
But here is when the rubber meets the road.
As important as maintenance and servicing is for our vehicles (cars and finances) and regardless of doing it all ourselves or not; the fact is that other cause of over 90% of accidents and injuries on the roads are due to poor driver decisions.
Within this 90%;
- 45% involve drug/alcohol,
- 20% weather related,
- 35% driver error.
One may argue this percentage also extends to our financial accidents, i.e. 90% of financial losses being investor decision. My estimation albeit there are no official statistical data confirming or denying the accuracy of these percentages.
- 45% investor invincibility (enhanced performance expectations vs. actual abilities) A.K.A. "excessive borrowing with limited or nil cash flow",
- 20% changing economic, legislative or market movements and
- 35% poor decision making;
So, be it for our convenience, or reaching a destination/ improving our quality of life, there are always additional risks we need to factor in. The biggest risk I suspect is by far is ourselves.
Finally, just as the role of a good mechanic is to sign off our vehicle is responsive, legal and road safe after their service, your adviser's role to sign off our finances are safe from disaster, legal, flexible and align to your lifestyle needs.
By applying the same approach to our finances we may just find our journey is safer, more enjoyable we reach our destination sooner, for both ourselves and those important to us.
This post was written by Peter Horsfield, as such they are his personal views. Peter helps you to focus on what’s most important, the right strategies at the right time. To learn more about How to become Financially Independent visit Peter Horsfield Smart Advice
About Peter Horsfield
Peter Horsfield in an Authorised Representative and Investsure Holdings Pty Ltd ABN 16 050 286 630 as trustee for Horsfield Family Trust ABN 55 609 068 513 is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd ABN 47 097 797 049 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence No. 236523.