Introducing Words of Wisdom

By Fritz Schafer, with contributions by Chris Schafer. January 5, 2017.

At Brooke & Schafer, we have made the commitment to begin and maintain a BLOG on our website.  For this first entry, we will try to outline what we hope to accomplish with this endeavor.   The focus of the blog is to help you with your financial well-being.   We hope to deliver to the readers sage words of wisdom, as well as timely updates and news regarding all things financial, in an entertaining interesting manner.   We will coordinate this from time to time with some of our passions, which may including running, The Ohio State Buckeyes, the fine cities of Cincinnati Ohio, Chillicothe Ohio, Atlanta GA and Decatur GA, as well as others.

I’m sure many of you are wondering why we titled our blog, “What would Michael say?”   Michael Brooke was the founder of Brooke & Schafer and my mentor for 27 years.  Over those years he passed on many words of wisdom, that I find myself still using daily with my clients, my children, my friends and myself.  Chris joined the firm 7 years ago and has told me numerous times I should write these down.  My challenge has been that these gems from the past come to me when I’m focused on a specific subject at hand with a client, my family, or friends. Something triggers the memory and I usually begin with “Michael always used to say…”

This brings to mind what Michael would say when analyzing possible future outcomes.  In other words…expectations.    Some examples might include your retirement goals, training for a marathon, or even the eventual outcome of this Blog.  Michael would say…

“Look at the best case scenario, and look at the worst case scenario, and the eventual outcome will most likely fall somewhere in between.  The trick is to plan for the worst case scenario and you will end up a little or maybe a lot happier.  If you plan for the best case scenario you will likely end up disappointed.”

As I begin this blog as a professional endeavor, I am also beginning to train for my 13th marathon.  There are many similar attributes to marathon running to financial planning, and I will include those comparisons in my blog as well.  To run a successful marathon one needs to have a training plan and make a commitment to it, be consistent, and make adjustments when necessary.  The same is true for a successful financial plan, and hopefully this will hold true to maintaining a successful blog.

Many runners, including myself, make the mistake of planning for the best case scenario.  In many ways it is understandable, because we all want to meet and exceed our expectations and get that personal best time, or beat that time goal, or qualify for the Boston marathon.  But, a marathon is not a forgiving distance, and there are many, many things that can go wrong.  Some of these include injuries, not feeling your best on race day, the weather, life stresses and more.  Even if your goal is just to finish, there is no guarantee that will happen, I wrote earlier that I am training for my 13th marathon, but actually this will be number 16, because on three occasions – I wasn’t able to finish the race!

So as an exercise – let us use Michael’s advice and look at the best case and worst case scenario for my marathon, and for this blog, and for those reading this blog.

Marathon:  Best case – I achieve my goal of qualifying for the Boston marathon… yeah!  Worst case – I don’t finish the race or suffer a minor injury.  In the worst case scenario at least I will have tried, enjoyed the training and the feeling of improving.  Additionally, the race is in February in Florida where I’ll also be visiting family.  While I would be extremely disappointed to not finish the race, it would not be the end of the world.

Blog:  Best case –  clients, prospects, and friends enjoy the blog, check it regularly and recommend it to others, which results in more clients and more friends.  Worst case – the blog is not well received, I try to keep it up-to-date and relevant, but at least I will have written down many of Michael’s words of wisdom for future generations to benefit from.

For those reading this blog – Best case – If you don’t have a sound financial plan already, you see the importance after reading this blog and learning more about your options.   All goes well and you live happily ever after.  Worst case – you do not have a financial plan and you inadvertently live beyond your means.  Later in life you run out of money and have to struggle financially.  As was stated earlier, the most likely case is somewhere in between.  Remember you don’t want to train to run 20 miles and find out you need to go 26!


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