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Problem Solving

David Shafer
2 min read
Problem Solving

I am a problem solver. Or at least I think I am. When other people are still dwelling on the problem, my mind is already at work trying to solve it. It makes for some interesting conversations with folks, especially with my wife who reacts emotionally first and needs time to process the emotions before she can move forward! But that is not quite true, there are times when the opposite is true. There are some situations when she sees clearly and is focused, while my emotions get the best of me. The truth is, we are all dominated by our emotions at times.


Research has demonstrated that our emotions are much more dominant in our thinking than anyone imagined. In fact, there is a entire branch of social science dedicated to rational thought called “Rational Choice Theory” that is being brought into question because of the newly found evidence on emotions.

It always helps to have someone that can slow you down and allow time for one to process through their emotions. Our experiences often dictate what hot button issues we react to. I watch the almost daily issue of what our son wears in the morning to go to school with much amusement now. You see I grew up in a military family. I had strict rules on dress. No jeans at school for example. I got my haircut on the military base up to the day I went to college. This was in the 1970s, where long hair and jeans was the official uniform! So I promised myself I wouldn’t get all wound up about what our son wears or how he wears his hair. He got his first buzz cut yesterday!

Take retirement income for example. Many folks understand they have a problem when it comes to providing adequate income for themselves in retirement. But, they are still dealing with the emotions of seeing their mutual fund values stagnate. They have people telling them to just hang in there and it will be all right. They have authors and TV personalities telling them just quit spending and pour more money into those mutual funds. So they feel guilty because they spend or powerless to deal with the stagnated market.

I am not making this stuff up. I have talked to people for the last 6 years about this and there are many, maybe a majority, that are frozen in place. It surprised me at first, when I offered them a way out [real estate investing and/or dividend producing equities and/or EIUL] and they can’t get themselves to make a change. At first I thought the forces were just too great for many to get outside the box. I mean all those financial authors and TV personalities were telling them to do the same thing, the financial planning industry with Wall Street and even the government were telling them the same ideas. But I learned that wasn’t it. They knew not to believe all those people. They were frozen because they hadn’t processed through their emotions. Maybe it was anger, or hopelessness, or some other emotion, but no matter how logical the solution was, it wasn’t going to move them to action at that time.

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.