The Curse of Knowledge

In Articles: Kansas City Office, Articles: Salt Lake City Office by Scott Dougan

Over the years, I’ve taught hundreds of hours of classes on financial retirement. The class I teach is called Retirement Elevated and we created it help aspiring retirees better prepare for the challenges and opportunities of retirement. In fact, advisors all over the country now teach these classes at colleges and universities; the impact has been tremendous.

Attendees sign up to learn about all the many aspects of retirement planning: income planning, investments, taxes, healthcare, estate planning. We also take time to address the softer issues facing retirees like preparing psychologically for the seismic shift away from paid work. The class is a lot of fun to teach, I think because the attendees are very eager to learn.

There are several common, recurring questions the attendees almost always want to make sure we address during the classes. Here is a list of a few: 

  • How much money do we need in order to retire?
  • How should we invest during retirement?
  • How do we make good decisions about Social Security?
  • What is the best way to draw money from a 401(k)?
  • How can we avoid paying too much in taxes?
  • What option do we have for healthcare?

These are just some of the many questions that were asked, most of which you’ve heard me speak about time and again. In fact, many of you may have begun to tune me out. “Oh, this again?”

I know it may seem like we go over the same things many, many times…but teaching this class has reminded me just how important it is to continue to cover the critical areas. Why? Because there are a lot of really smart, really diligent, really successful people out there that are craving in-depth teaching about retirement planning. 

Before I continue, if you’re yet to have a comprehensive retirement plan built for yourself, please reach out to us so we can help you get the clarity you deserve. If you already have your planning arranged, what I’m about to share is really important. 

A recent teaching experience has reminded me of a principle that I often forget (maybe you do too). That principle is called the ‘curse of knowledge.’ You know: the idea that says that, once we know something, we forget that not everybody knows what we know. 

Retirement planning is a topic that almost everyone hopes they’ll need to understand at some point, because almost everybody eventually wants to build a sustainable retirement for themselves. Remember when you knew little about what to do to plan retirement and who to reach out to for the best next steps?

The curse of knowledge infects us all at some point. If you’d like to reach back over that wall and help somebody not as far along as you, you’ll be giving them a great gift. Teach them to golf, to knit, or to navigate their retirement planning.

We offer a number of ways for people to scale the wall, so to speak. Perhaps a Discovery Session in our office, or a Retirement Elevated class will set them on the path to a better understanding of retirement planning concepts and options.

I hope you’ll consider inviting others you care about to begin the process of learning all of the important things that you know (and now may take for granted) about your retirement planning. 

For an easy way to help them, please contact us for more information regarding our upcoming education events or reply to this email if you’d like more information about upcoming dates. 

The curse of knowledge is only a curse if you allow it to be. Thanks for considering how you may break that curse, in the service of others.