Chapter 9. The Truth about Change

Soon after my mother passed, my father and I had to have a meeting with her estate lawyer. Her estate was in good shape, but this lawyer also saw our gathering as an opportunity to show us how to organize our personal assets. He thought it was a good time for us to make sure that our wishes would be honored when our respective times came.

Everything he said made perfect sense. When I left that meeting, I had every intention of making sure that all of my 401(k)s were assigned to the beneficiary of my choice. I planned to create a will, name an executor, and so on. For some reason, however, I did not act.

I saw this estate lawyer a few months later, and he asked me if I had moved on his recommendations. He was very disappointed when he discovered that I had not. I can still see him shaking his head in disapproval.

I've met many people who have similar experiences in various parts of their financial planning. They walk out of a meeting with an adviser, with a new budget or investment plan, yet they do not put them into action. They are left with a deep sense of disappointment in themselves.

As we discussed in Chapter 2, we are given only two choices when it comes to claiming that we've been successful at making changes: action and inaction. When we fail to act, we're met with disapproval, and the "I'm a failure" song often starts blaring in our heads.

When I think of instances in my own life and the lives of others, where the intent to make a change was ...

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