My financial advisor called me yesterday. I’m in trouble. No, not that kind of trouble–my solvency never came into question. I’m in trouble with her. She’s feeling slighted because I don’t call, I don’t write; she feels jilted and ignored.

Sadly, she is absolutely right. As my financial advisor, I rarely let her advise me. She talks. I nod. We smile. I leave. I do nothing. She follows up. I do nothing.

I know she has to be completely frustrated with me, and I’m surprised she hasn’t given up. I need her more than she needs me, that’s for certain.

The insights I’ve gained from this crazy cycle fascinate me. One thing I firmly believe is that we should recognize people’s areas of expertise and capitalize on them. Let the HR person handle personnel matters; let the engineer handle design matters; let the doctor handle medical matters. Yes, we need to be informed enough about issues that touch us personally to be able to evaluate advice and information and make appropriate decisions for ourselves, but that advice should come from people who know. We’re so much more productive when we let people do their jobs.

So why do I balk at letting the financial advisor handle my money matters? Here’s where the fascinating insight comes in. I don’t want to admit that I don’t know something. I also hate making wrong decisions. This is a situation where 1) I don’t know what to do or, often, how to do it, and 2) I don’t want to make a bad choice, especially in this area. There’s too much at stake. In the back of my mind, I also know that doing nothing will have the same effect as making a bad decision. So why is it that inertia feels so much more comfortable?

I suspect I’m not alone in this, even if your own issue isn’t with your financial advisor. Most people have some area that’s off-limits, shoved in a corner of the mind and ignored because they don’t know what to do or are afraid to take the necessary steps. Unfortunately, inertia impedes progress, and in my case, it won’t pay for my kids’ college tuition. Find your area, cut the caution tape, go to an expert, and take a chance.  

I’m trying, Sheila. Don’t give up on me.

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