The Oracle at Delphi Says: “Know Thyself”

Here come the data sheets! But, to paraphrase a line from “Alice in Wonderland”: “When you do not know where you are going, any road will take you there.”

Aimlessness is death to financial decision-making. You must know what you own, how each asset is performing, what you need, and how well new investments do once you buy them. There is no other way to judge whether you are becoming a better decision-maker. You will also need to set goals. It is hard to do that if you do not know how far away you are from your target.

But, I do not want the paperwork to get in your way or become an excuse for inaction. It is too easy to use the data sheets as a barrier to making a move - “I’ll invest in stocks AFTER I get all the information on paper.” “I have to call my accountant to get the information, and she’s on vacation.” “I’m terrible at math, so I’ll wait until my husband (wife) has time to work with me.” (It is nice to plan with your significant other; but, not as an excuse for procrastination.)

If there is any danger that the following paperwork will delay you from making an investment decision for more than two weeks, DO NOT DO IT! If you are a person that builds a wall between yourself and taking action with “make-work” tasks, data gathering can be deadly.

Every minute your money works for you brings you closer to your independence. So, whether you are comfortable with data sheets or not, do not delay.

Now for the Data Gathering:

Take stock of your goals. Have your significant other do the same. Make special note (but do not discuss, as yet) areas, if any, where your goals are in conflict.

    Financial Goals and Objectives

    On a scale from 0 to 5, circle the number to the right of each of the items below that most accurately reflects your financial concerns. A 5 would signify a priority item, and a 0 would indicate that the particular topic has no impact on this planning process.

    Asset protection


    Make sure you also have your financial co-decision makers fill out these materials, as well.