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19: Conventional Wisdom

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The problem we have as successful professionals is that we are used to being good at school.

The educational system, created by the Prussians during the industrial revolution, resembles a conveyor belt that spits out a new product every 12 years in the form of a brand new high school graduate.

The best quality products are those who follow the rules and learn exactly what they are told to learn and do not deviate from the curriculum. They don’t get it wrong and they go on to get professional degrees.

Conventional wisdom acts as the surrogate for formal education once we leave school. The problem with conventional wisdom is that while it can save your life–ie. don’t go swimming outdoors in an electrical storm, it can also be a source of institutionalized stupidity–ie. the world is flat.

Conventional wisdom in personal finance can also be detrimental to your financial health and could lead to the syndrome of dying broke.

Here are some examples of financial conventional wisdom:

1) Invest for the long run in a portfolio of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.

2) Save your money in the bank.

3) Debt is always bad.

4) Giving your money to wealth advisors is the responsible thing to do.

Of course I have written contrarian views of all of these examples in previous widgets. But the list is extensive. We live in a matrix of conventional wisdom.

In a way, life without conventional wisdom would be life without gravity–nothing to keep you grounded. So, it’s not all bad!

Our challenge, as smart people is to question conventional wisdom. When it comes to personal finance, the stakes are high. You don’t want to follow the herd if the herd is running of the edge of a cliff.

If you are reading this, you already understand that and are trying to arm yourself with financial education.

I’m doing my best to share with you what I know, but it’s getting a little difficult. You see, once you live in a world with a different financial perspective as I have, it is sometimes hard to remember when you thought the world was flat.

So, I need your help. I need you to push me. I want you to ask me questions.

What are the financial questions that keep you awake at night? What are you embarrassed to ask because you think you should already know it?

My whole purpose on doing this podcast and writing these emails is to serve you. So, let me do so. Reply to this email and let those questions rip!