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  • Writer's pictureSteve

Dr. Ian Malcolm

In 1993 Universal Picture released the sci-fi action thriller, Jurassic Park. I was in middle school.  I can still remember a classmate cutting his finger nails into points, running around, and telling everyone he was a velociraptor!  Indeed, utilizing cutting edge animatronics and special effects, director Steven Spielberg produced one of the defining movies of our generation.  But, for as "cool" as all the dinosaurs were, it was a simple line toward the beginning of the film delivered by actor Jeff Goldblum that has forever been etched into my memory.  

A short way into the movie, industrialist and creator of Jurassic Park, John Hammond has invited a small team of family members, scientists, and attorneys to preview his park and provide feedback.  Chaos theorist mathematician Dr. Ian Malcolm, played by Goldblum, observes how the dinosaurs were brought back to life and has this to say, "Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think whether or not they should." The rest, of course, is multi-billion dollar dino history.  

You see, with the breakneck changes technology has brought us the last few decades managing finances, making investments, etc. has all become so "easy."  Barriers that previously stood in our way to making poor financial decisions have been wiped away.  Credit cards, Amazon Prime and "Buy Now, Pay Later" have reduced the time from initial impulse to fulfillment to a mere seconds.  Evan Powers eloquently puts it this way:

"Because technology has enabled us to do so many things that previously required a middleman or gatekeeper, it's generally presumed that we want to do those things, that we should do those things, and that we can do them all on our own."

But we don't always want to, and if we do want to sometimes we should not, and sometimes we think we can, but we can't.  It's the purchase of Gamestop (GME) stock with your Robinhood app at $400, it's when you signed up for your 401(k) online all by yourself and missed out on tens of thousands of dollars of matching employer matching contributions because you maxed out your employee contribution by September, or when you designed your own auto insurance and chose minimum level coverage because you wanted to save money.Sometimes, a circuit breaker is a good idea, maybe even necessary. 

Sometimes, the middlemen have something useful to say.  Sometimes, they have an experience you don't.  Sometimes, the comprehensive knowledge you think you acquired with "hours" of internet research pales in comparison to the hours they spend each and every day perfecting and implementing their craft.  Of course, this isn't just about finances.  It's about home repair, food preparation, driving a car, and much, much more.  

When CAN you do it on your own and when do you need to hire help?  I can't answer that for you.  I can only suggest before clicking "submit," or "verify," or "execute," you take a moment to reflect again on what Dr. Malcolm said and ask yourself if this applies to you?

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