Photo: Mark Buckawicki. Source: Public Domain Project
The last time I lifted the hood it was pretty intimidating. The complex tangle of tubes, lines, and differently colored entry-points was impossible to decipher. The car’s manuals weren’t much help. They didn’t even have normal page numbers; the index referred to page 4-23 or 2-6, and I couldn’t even find the size of the gas tank or fuel reserve or whatever they called it. And don’t get me started on the computer system.
But we don’t need to be mechanics to take care of our cars, to check the oil periodically and add windshield wiper fluid to that reservoir. Increasingly, our cars talk to our smartphones to tell us if a sensor needs replacing or a cylinder is misfiring or we forgot to replace the gas cap the last time we filled up. That was the problem that generated a “check engine” light, recently.
Our cars are a lot like our finances. There’s a lot of complexity, but it’s designed to improve performance. There are low-fee index funds, mobile access, automatic investments, and specialized offerings designed to be both focused and diversified. We don’t have to guess which small biotech firm will have an immunotherapy breakthrough; we can own 30 different companies with dozens of different drugs in clinical trials by buying one Exchange Traded Fund.
1970 Dodge Challenger. Source: Carpictures.cc
And like our cars, we don’t need to have a degree in finance to do basic maintenance: checking our statements, setting goals and working towards them, meeting with our advisors to make sure everything is still on track.
Just don’t ignore the check engine light when it comes on. And remember: our cars – and our finances – are there to get us where we want to go. Not the other way around.
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