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Should Financial Management Be Boring?
Old 03-20-2006, 01:37 PM   #1
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Should Financial Management Be Boring?

My teenage son has thinks the worst term of approbation is "boring" but I have a different perspective. A few years ago I spent a couple days loading a NASA spacecraft on to an Airforce transport airplane. There were a few complications that got worked out but I felt I didn't need to be there and the whole thing was boring. When my exastronaut manager asked about the project I said it was boring and he said :"Good!" I learned from that exchange.On really important things like flight projects, weapons systems and my retirement, boring is good.
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Re: Should Financial Management Be Boring?
Old 03-20-2006, 03:37 PM   #2
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Re: Should Financial Management Be Boring?

yakers,

As a former NASA financial manager I never found financial management boring. With constant budget cuts under Dan Golden's "faster, better, cheaper" mantra it was more exciting than I wanted it to be. The obvious conclusion was that you could have any two of the three, but not all three together. As to my own personal finances, I agree with you that boring (as in nothing catastrophic going on) was good.

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Re: Should Financial Management Be Boring?
Old 03-20-2006, 03:59 PM   #3
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Re: Should Financial Management Be Boring?

Boring is good when it comes to regular returns and an income stream in retirement. I'll take boring any day.

Getting to that point for me has been anything but boring. Watching my fledgling stocks grow and multiply was a thing of wonder and was far from boring. Now that I have backed away from the table after I realized that I will actually have to live on these assets in a few years, my view of the market is moving to the boring side.....a nice place to be right now. I will still "play" in the market from time to time to address my testosterone levels but not like I used to. Rolling the dice on my future supply of Little Friskies is not a good plan at this stage...but then again.....maybe if I win I can move up to Fancy Feast.
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Re: Should Financial Management Be Boring?
Old 03-20-2006, 04:33 PM   #4
 
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Re: Should Financial Management Be Boring?

I know what you're saying: Boredom indicates proficiency.

Let's say that you got that spacecraft loaded in 3 days, you'd be given $3 million, and if it took longer, you'd be shot.* Bet it wouldn't have been boring then.

When it's your own money your managing, it's not so boring, even if it is routine and you know what you're doing.
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Re: Should Financial Management Be Boring?
Old 03-20-2006, 05:10 PM   #5
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Re: Should Financial Management Be Boring?

I think I am primarily getting at the human tendency to want to make things interesting even when they don't have to be. Unclemick and others advocate leaving a few dollars to "play" with to compensate for this natural tendency to want to be busy and complicate things. My retirement TSP (401k type) fund is a choice of low ER index funds which work just fine, even Target Retirement options. Just set and forget.
But, hey-I'm supposed to be smarter than that, surely I can apply my superior intellect to beating the market and making life so much more interesting. And over the last few years I have beat the market (S&P500) but not by much and it took a lot of time & effort so I closed out the trading account.
A former BIL of mine actually mortgaged his house to buy option contracts. He was lucky to break even. I would have had a heart attack with that much risk.
I do not think that I am the only one that finds it difficult to accept that “boring is good” when watching the slow, steady growth in retirement funds.
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