A few months ago, my dad shared an interesting conundrum that he faced in his business.
One of his largest customers was looking to acquire a competitor that would increase their business volume by about 35%. The result for my dad, would likely be a 35% or more increase in business from this already large customer.
Because the acquisition seemed likely, my dad wanted to invest in a million dollar piece of equipment which would be a profitable move if his business increased by the expected volume.
The problem was that the customer did not want to sign a long term contract while they were going through the acquisition process. The company would be undergoing massive changes (including possible changes at C-Suite level), and they wanted to remain as agile as possible.
My dad could wait to purchase the equipment until the risk subsided, but he needed to make a decision right away about whether or not to allow a sub-leasing tenant to continue to sub-lease or if he had reasonable enough expectations that he would purchase the equipment that he would not renew the sublease.
While the decision he made is really complicated to explain, and I'm quite certain that I will get the details wrong, the decision framework that he shared with me is one that I have found incredibly helpful in the months since he shared it with me.
Making good decisions (especially when it comes to bigger decisions) is an incredibly important skill to develop both in business and in life, which is why I want to share this framework with you.
I can't remember the last time I was as exhausted as I felt yesterday. The pile of tasks mounted like our ever growing pile of urine stained laundry. The emotionally exhausting people growing needier by the second. The deadlines looming ever closer. Three impromptu meetings where despite my protests I wound up signed up for yet another work related task.
My inspiration drained as I stared down the barrel of my computer. I would have cried, but I'm not an emotionally in touch kind of person, and unfortunately being 7 months pregnant I can't engage in either of my tear inducing vices (running well past the point of exhaustion and imbibing in approximately 1.5 drinks).
I tried to write code, but I couldn't. I pulled up my most recent freelance writing assignment covering identity theft, but I just didn't care. I wandered downstairs to get a drink of water. It would have been food, but my stomach was in knots, and we're keeping comfort food out of the house.
The raw chicken that I set out for dinner stared at me from my gleaming new countertops. Never has my kitchen looked so good. Never have I felt more embittered by the need to cook a meal for my family.
I put the chicken into the fridge, and I went back upstairs to stare at my computer until Kenny got home from his carpool. Surely inspiration would come eventually.
Being known as the money nerd among my friends, I'm often tapped upon to proffer wisdom on topics like investing.
Usually, I try to give some encouraging advice like, "You're smart enough to do it on your own," but such encouragement falls flat. "I recommend owning stocks and bonds, and I prefer funds to individual assets," is equally sleep inducing, and leaves me with little more than football to discuss at playoff parties (#KeepPounding).
It seems that people want me to perform like some stock picking wizard, but I haven't been admitted to Hogwarts, so I have no wizardry credentials. Additionally, I've made plenty of investing mistakes, I'm still learning about investing, and I'm not even a billionaire, so I'm uniquely unqualified to provide hot stock tips.
However, the people have asked, so I shall deliver. Today's investing advice is that the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent. Want me to unpack that? Keep on reading.
My husband has what I call a bone for justice. When he hears about an unfair situation, he's liable to get worked up into a frenzy until justice is served (or until we have the opportunity to watch an episode of The Arrow). He's particularly grieved when he perceives that Kenny or I have received the short end of the stick.
Because of this, the best way to incite action from him is to make the action about justice.
Sadly, this admirable trait is very easy for me to manipulate. If I wish for Rob to do something, I simply state, "I feel that I have shouldered an unfair burden, and I would like for you to do X to relieve that burden." While the statement is an accurate reflection of how I feel and what I want done, I know that it will lead Rob into "penance" mode in order to make up for the guilt he feels.
Realizing that I had (not always intentionally) engaged the above line a few too many times, a year or so ago I resolved to only engage such parlance after doing a quick calculation. First, I would add up the value of all the things that Rob had done to add value to our household and marriage, and add up the value of all the things I had done, and only engage the line when the value of what I had done exceeded the value of what he had done.
All of you are scoffing right now because you think you're above such petty behavior, but if you had taken 3-4 more economics classes, I bet you would be nodding right along with me. Or perhaps, you are a better human being than I am and immediately jumped to different statements that I could make that would still lead to conflict resolution, but not cause my husband so much hurt.
Regardless, you are not me, and this story is about me, and only the moral should be applied to your life.
I'm a wife, a mom, an employee, and a personal finance nerd who is devoted to spreadsheeting my way through life.