Blog

Matt Abels

Biases

One of the reasons we ask so many questions (sometimes 60 or more) when we first meet a client is to try to understand the person, not just the numbers.  You can learn a lot about a person’s decision making when you understand where they came from.  It’s our walk of life that influences how we look at the world.

I find this especially true when it comes to planning for long-term care.  When I meet with someone who has had firsthand experience with taking care of a loved one, they are always concerned about it.  They do not want their kids to have to take care of them like they had to care for their parents.  On the other hand, when I meet with someone who has never dealt with it in their family, they are often less concerned about it and would rather spend time discussing something else.  These different perspectives are based on past experiences which influence how they make decisions.

We are all human and guilty of having biases, including yours truly.  My grandma spent 12 years in a nursing home, dealing with Alzheimer’s.  I will never forget those Sunday mornings after church, stopping by to see her and having to introduce myself every week.  Today, we try to make light of it when someone forgets something in our family by calling it Abelsheimer’s.  The fact is, that history has influenced my family’s view on long-term care.

When it comes to making financial planning decisions, your bias can get in the way of making good decisions.  An important part of making any decision is trying to remain objective.  One of the first steps in that process should be acknowledging our biases.  From there, we can gather the facts and attempt to objectively analyze the pros and cons of any situation.  If you’re concerned about the impact of long-term care, the stock market, premature death, etc., contact a trusted financial advisor for help.  An advisor can play a key role in your decision-making process because they can look at your situation more objectively.  Keep in mind, however, that financial advisors might have biases, too.  While those of us that are held to a fiduciary standard need to remain objective, I openly acknowledge my family’s history with Alzheimer’s every time I have a long-term care conversation with a client.  Don’t be afraid to ask your financial advisor what their past experience has been with long-term care or any other issue that may be of concern to you.  An open and honest conversation is healthy when trying to make a difficult decision.  Hopefully, that collaboration can lead to making the best financial decision for your situation.

So, give some thought to your own biases the next time you’re faced with a tough choice, it just may help you make a better decision.


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