Josh Wolberg - Committee Member
Seeking Wisdom beyond CE Credits
“I have said that in my whole life, I have known no wise person over a broad subject matter area who didn't read all the time -- none, zero." – Charlie Munger at the 2003 Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting
The FPA and CFP Board include the principal of Competence in their Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility. I like Munger’s use of the term “wise”, which has a deeper meaning than competence. Financial planning is unique in the vast breadth and depth of subjects relevant to our profession. Wise financial planning and investing can draw on knowledge from such diverse subjects as history, economics, psychology, finance, politics, behavioral science, mathematics, business, philosophy, law, communication, and many others.
Stronger (and Wiser) Together
“The rate at which individuals and organizations learn may become the only sustainable competitive advantage, especially in knowledge-intensive industries.” – Peter Drucker
Academic research shows that joint commitments and associating activities with something you enjoy can increase consistency and effectiveness. Consider the relative likelihood of exercising if you have regularly scheduled workout sessions with a partner multiple times every week versus “exercising when I can”. The joint commitment makes it less likely either partner will miss a session. The partners also form a strong habit over time because they associate exercise with the positive reward of social interaction. As a result, both partners’ long-term health will likely improve.
The benefits of joint commitments and positive association illustrated above can also apply to professional development. In addition, discussing a subject with fellow professionals enables all participants to learn from other perspectives on the material. The professional issues committee has discussed the idea of a book club or study group. This group would likely be self-organizing rather than led by an existing FPA committee. We would like your input on format, frequency, etc. If you are interested in being involved, email Josh Wolberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t have Time to Read?
Wanting to read more is a worthy goal but you may wonder where you can find the time. I felt the same way throughout most of my life as I used to average around one book per year beyond required classroom reading.
In 2009, a friend recommended I try audio books since he knew I loved to learn but found it hard to make time to read. It isn’t a stretch to say the “discovery” has meaningfully changed my life in many ways. Over time it has grown to where I now average over 50 books per year without having to reallocate time from other activities. Between driving and exercise I typically have 5+ hours each week I can be listening to books rather than music/advertising. Two completely unexpected benefits are my dramatically improved attitude towards exercise and traffic delays (assuming I’m not late for an appointment).
Many people’s response to this idea is something to the effect: “I don’t think I’d enjoy/learn anything listening to books.” While that may be true, you will not know unless you actually try it a few times. My daughter felt the same way about brussel sprouts before we encouraged her to try them a few times. Now she requests them.