Fix Things by Looking in the Right Place

You win today, broken light ceiling fan. All the YouTube videos in the world and I admit temporary defeat. #illbeback 
- @JeremyWalter, January 28, 2017
Has any parent not said, at least a dozen times, a variation of “Stop turning on and off the lights!”?

We did - to no avail - until our boys successfully broke a ceiling fan light.  

This was in January of 2017. I spent countless hours trying to fix it.  Once a whole Saturday.  Random week nights.  Tearing it apart.  Replacing random parts. YouTubing.  Rewiring what I had confidence to rewire.  Determined to not spend $125 on a new fan.  In the meantime, the half-assembled product hung, lifeless, in the room.  

For almost two years.  Defiantly staring me in the face.  

Until last month, when by chance I thought “Wait - what if the problem isn’t the fan?”  I popped open the light switch cover, something didn’t look entirely right.  I happened to have a new light switch in the garage.  Replaced it.  Turned it on.  Bingo.

It took 5 minutes.  

All it took was a perspective change.  The cause wasn’t what, or where, I assumed it was.  I knew the problem (no lights!), but assumed wrongly the source (the switch, not the unit!).  

I see this with money as well.  We know the symptoms (not saving, not giving, feeling anxious, being underinsured) and maybe we think we know the cause (not enough income, fear, CNBC, procrastination). But is the cause accurate?  Are we looking in the proper places?  Asking the right questions?

Maybe we are.  But we might save ourselves a lot of time (and stress) if we change the perspective once in awhile.  
Interesting Resources 

1. XYPN Radio (podcast) - The Career of Jeremy Walter
Certainly a self-serving note here.  I was recently interviewed by XY Planning Network on their weekly podcast.  It was my first time ever on a podcast, and after some serious nerves leading up to it - I had a lot of fun.  If you want to hear a bit about my career path, the reasons behind launching Fident, my approach to calibrating values and wealth, and my vision for the future, then give it a listen.  Fair warning, it is not short (running time just over an hour).  

2. Wall St Journal - Every Gadget and App Should Have a Dark Mode
I stare at screens a lot.  Last year I made an intentional effort to stop using my phone as much, but for my job I’m staring at multiple computer screens for at a minimum of 4 hours a day.  My eyes ache some days.  I get headaches and it’s hard to focus my vision at times.  I’m not alone, and there’s growing research and tools available to help out.  One of the most effective?  Using Dark Mode on our screens.  I did this with my phone a while back, but this week did it with my computer as well. This article gives a pretty high level overview of why this might make sense, and provides some resources to start.  For Chrome users, I downloaded the “Dark Reader” extension for Chrome so all my windows and pages are black now with white text.  My eyes feel immeasurably better already.  

3.  A Wealth of Common Sense - The Long Term in International Stocks
It’s been a hard case to make for investing in anything but the US for the past decade.  And for good reason, America has outperformed pretty much every other region of the world since 2008/09.  But - it wasn’t always this way.  Ben Carlson unpacks some historical perspective here on why we should still have some allocation to international funds (before the past 10 years, the US has actually under-performed in 3 out of the previous 4 decades on a relative basis).  Disclosure: most of Fident’s clients in growth-oriented portfolios have around 40% exposure to non-US funds. 
Anything come to your mind reading this morning about looking in the right places?  Feel free to make fun of my light-switch ignorance - and let me know if there’s perhaps some problem I can provide a change of perspective on.

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