Beware Of This “Painless” Advice

Earlier this month my wife and I reached one of life’s big decisions.  After four healthy, wonderful kids, we agreed it was time to shut down the factory — from my end… if you know I mean.   Snip, snip.

This being the Oprah generation of over-sharing, I talked to several buddies about my concerns regarding discomfort and recovery time.  That’s where the trouble started.

This is a very common procedure.  About 500,000 American men get ‘er done every year.  So, it seemed like every guy had an opinion based on personal experience.  And, those views all boiled down to the same three words: No Big Deal.  The operation was painless and the recovery consisted of one day of watching SportsCenter with an ice pack on your lap.

Armed with that consensus opinion from good friends, I proceeded to book my procedure on a Tuesday afternoon during a crazy week packed with professional and personal obligations, including vital meetings, a huge Friday night dinner party and a weekend full of coaching my kids’ sports teams. I figured I’d work from home on Wednesday and be back in the office bright and early Thursday.

See where this is going?  I was still doubled over with pain on Thursday (48 hours post-op), and did a lot of grimacing at the Friday night party (72 hours).  Can’t say I loved every minute of standing on those sideline over the weekend, either.  Irritated, I did some research and discovered that most guys miss two or three days of work, and don’t feel fully recovered for at least a week.

I can’t really blame my friends, I guess.  They thought they were giving me legit insight.  But most of them went through the procedure years ago, their memories dimmed by time.  And every person has a different experience when they undergo a medical treatment.  What’s more, no guy wants to come off as anything less than Batman when asked how much he can endure.  Plus, I’m guilty of uncritically accepting their feedback because I wanted a quick, painless recovery.

As I lay cuddling with my ice pack on that Thursday, I realized my experience offers a great lesson for investors.  Be very careful about taking financial advice from your buds – no matter how well intentioned.  Their experience is unique to them, and their recommendations will be colored by ego, failed memory and other motivations unknown to you.  Yes, Phil over in Accounting may have gotten into Netflix early and made a bundle.  But he likely won’t talk about the 10 “sure things” he lost money on.  So, should you really take his coffee machine stock tips?

No, you should not.  You should have a carefully crafted investment strategy based on your needs and circumstances.  That plan should be based on your research and, perhaps, help from a financial advisor who has a fiduciary obligation to put your needs first when offering advice.  Stick to your strategy and don’t engage in the sort of magical get-well-quick… I mean, get-rich-quick thinking that makes you vulnerable to misleading noise from friends and family.

After all, that kind of noise that can cause you pain no amount of Tylenol and ice can relieve.

 

 

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