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Why we wait to CHECKUP our 401k

When something is very important to our lives and we know it, why does it seem so neglected? There are many common experiences that for most of us have some built in anxiety like;

GOING TO THE DENTIST / DOCTOR

FIXING ANY PLUMBING PROBLEM

CLEANING THE WINDOWS (AND RUNNERS) IN YOU HOME

DEALING WITH THE AUTO MECHANIC

“REVIEWING” YOUR AUTO INSURANCE / HEALTH INSURANCE / CELL PHONE & CABLE COSTS!

CHECKING UP ON YOUR OWN MONEY IN YOUR 401K!!!

These thing are a few of many. They are all things we know we should take care of but often will find any excuse to avoid. Why is that? While we do not profess to be qualified phycologist (but we have watched a lot of TV dramas so …) by asking this question of ourselves we have an answer that works for us and having this knowledge has helped us to “deal” with the important stuff. Maybe you will can also use this insight so …. It always seems that whenever we felt it was time to tackle any one of these kind of tasks we were always unprepared. What we mean specifically is we knew what needed to be done and maybe even what a good job was but most of the time we just jumped in without thinking through a best “process” or having the basic “tools” necessary to make the task easier and less time consuming.

 

 

Let’s look at an example. I needed to change the wax seal on a toilet in my home. Yes, I could call a plumber, but this is really simple and I could do it for the cost of a $10 wax ring or pay $150 for a plumber. In my case I knew it would be more like $300-$400 because the water line was so old if I tried to turn it off I was afraid it would break. So what did I do …. Nothing! Ha. I just put it off week after week. WHY? Well mostly because I knew I did not have a good small plumbers wrench to reach behind the toilet that would make changing the water line simple. Finally, after feeling bad about myself and some looks that could kill from my wife I went to the hardware store and bought a $15 wrench, $10 wax ring …. And with a plan/process and the right tools fixed the toilet in 15 minutes. With that done I was feeling pretty good about myself, having finally done what I knew need to be done and I realized that once I had thought it through (had a plan/process) and gone to get the tools needed the task was pretty easy.

So you know where this leads, what if I had a process and plan and tools ready for all my “tasks” that I avoid? Well I guess I would be one step closer to a real “grown-up” ha! You know the guy I keep telling my kids they want to grow up to be. Whatever your process or the tools you use to tackle your 401k task the real key it to HAVE A PROCESS and the TOOLS to do the job. If you do this, we can’t guarantee you will like doing the job but we are sure you will stop avoiding the task and whatever decisions you make you will feel more confident. O yeah, it is also true the more you do a thing the easier it gets and in time it just becomes a good habit.

Illustration of a car & many parts.

Now you say “but some tasks need more skill than I possess”. This can be true. I know enough about modern automobile engines and their electronic systems to “know when its broke” but mostly have no idea how to fix it. What I do is often quickly run the “symptoms” in a google search to kind of narrow down the possible trouble, then I go to a mechanic I trust to confirm and repair. Over the years I have gotten pretty good at simple diagnostics and knowing what is generally wrong. In some simple things I can repair it myself, but mostly I just go to the guy I trust to do the job. Finding good mechanic, you trust is the tough part but usually if just ask around you will eventual find a good one. My point here is …. It was still my car and my responsibility to have some idea of what was going on. The same is true with investing, weather you’re doing it yourself or working with a professional…it’s your money so having a process and tools can only help you! And that’s why we build 401k-Checkup for both individuals and advisors, so they could have a process and tool to do better.