Financial Puzzle Solver
The work I do as a financial adviser requires that I spend a lot of time reviewing clients’ financial information.
This includes bank statements, insurance policies, annuity contracts, pay stubs, and tax returns. I believe the reason I get immense satisfaction from organizing and analyzing finances is that I’m a puzzle-solver at heart. I love puzzles of all kinds – crosswords, sudoku, jigsaw. Especially jigsaw puzzles because these allow me to create order out of chaos.
It used to be that I would have a table set up somewhere in my house with a jigsaw puzzle. However, with 2 cats, 2 dogs, an active son and a husband, my jigsaw puzzles suffered daily reversals that required continuous reconstruction. Also, I would invariably end up with at least one piece missing from the final product which I would later find mangled in the vacuum cleaner. Recently I discovered jigsaw puzzle apps on my tablet and a whole new world opened for me. Now, I can have several jigsaw puzzles going at the same time. I can adjust the difficulty by changing parameters like number of pieces, whether the pieces lock when placed correctly, etc. I can even have the app separate all the border pieces so that I can complete the outline first.
Looking For And Identifying Patterns
My mind and eye are always seeking patterns. When something is out of place and the pattern is broken, it becomes something that I can’t ignore until it is set right. And that’s what I’m doing when I’m reviewing all the financial data I gather from my clients. I’m looking for things that don’t match the client’s needs and wants. Things that don’t fit their particular pattern or picture.
Sometimes there seems to be a mystery jigsaw puzzle piece. A piece that no matter how much I look I swear cannot be part of the puzzle at all. Almost always the reason that I can’t fit the piece is because I’m misinterpreting the picture or the context. I think the blue piece in my hand is part of the sky so I’m not even considering whether it might be part of the water instead.
There is an illusion called Rubin’s Vase where the image of a vase (on the left) when slightly altered (on the right) reveals in fact, 2 heads in profile looking at one another. It’s the same outline, but until the negative, empty space in the left image, becomes the positive space in the right image it’s impossible to see.
That’s another tactic that I regularly use when I do jigsaw puzzles and when I analyze client financial data. When something appears to be a negative and seems to have no place in the puzzle, I take a step back and see if the context can be altered to allow the piece to fall into place easily. You may have an asset like an IRA that you believe can only fit into your financial plan in a certain way and that may not be the case.
There may be options for using that IRA to fund long-term care or meet other goals that you have not considered because you could not “see” them. And that is just one example.
Let Red Feather Financial do a complimentary financial review and help you complete the puzzle – with no missing pieces – that retirement planning often presents. Give us a call today.