amidst the era of ‘fake news’ and the increasingly unreliable nature of Internet search results.
Try not to let this sound silly or insult your intelligence. Because if you think about a few
examples, you’ll see how this is a more common, yet subtle dilemma happening all around us,
everyday. In the process of trying to solve our doubts we are sometimes increasing them and
this may be happening right under our noses.
True or false: Almost everywhere we look, many people are quick to offer their answers or
solutions (ie: their informed opinion) to the world’s problems, the direction of the economy or the
outcome of next election. To be fair, an ironic example is my opinion of this dilemma is itself.
We see it on cable news shows, hear it on talk radio and read it on social media post replies:
Many are quick to offer their correct answer but few point out the correct or alternate question.
(For instance, like I am doing right here)
Current examples of possibly wrong answers to unvalidated questions:
Answer: Our education system can be fixed by doing Z.
Correct question: Which system exactly and what specific problems?
Answer: The solution to the immigration crisis is X.
Correct question: What is the immigration crisis exactly?
Answer: The best sector in economy right now is Y.
Correct questions: What does “best” sector mean, and to whom?
Is it the fastest growing or the most consistently growing? Or is it the one with the furthest to
grow? Why does defining it matter?
Answer: The best way to invest my 401(k) is X
Correct question: Have I made the maximum contribution yet? Do I consider employer matching
to determine this?
Pay a little attention this week in your environment and think about the abundance of answers
floating around and the relative scarcity of “correct question alternates”. In other words, look to
see who or what is questioning the questions. How this applies to our daily decisions is at least
as important as it is to our financial decisions.
Pointing this out is something I do to help my clients.
D. Scott Bloom, CFP