From the desk of Peter Blatt, J.D., LL.M.
On Saturday, I was watching the weatherman as he was talking about the weather forecast for the next two weeks. It struck me that his predictions might be correct, or they might not be correct. Even if his predictions were correct, no one was holding him accountable. If he predicted the weather would be nice on Saturday, and it turned out to rain – is somebody calling him to tell him that he’s wrong? Is he reporting on Sunday that he forecasted Saturday’s weather incorrectly?
On Sunday, I helped my younger son clean out his beta-fish fishbowl. I thought about the fish swimming around, observing his pebbles and his fake tree; and I realized that to the fish, his entire world is inside that bowl. When food comes to the fish, it just appears and he does not know that the giant hand providing his food is my 10-year old son. I wondered if the fish could ever see outside of his bowl and understand what is beyond.
On Sunday afternoon, we rescued a 5-month old golden retriever puppy, Jack. He is very playful and in good spirits. I am reminded, as my family raises Jack, how much puppies are like babies – especially ones that are not house broken. Every 2 hours, one of us has to wake up and walk him. We are firm but also appropriate in our behaviors toward Jack. He is learning discipline and responsibility. We reward him when he does positive behavior and we do not punish for negative behavior. Jack is learning how to become a well-behaved dog and only time will tell if the lessons he is learning take.
When you are investing for retirement, you should hold yourself responsible for your predictions (unlike the weatherman). Work with people who will hold themselves responsible too. In looking at the fishbowl effect, remember to take a step back when making decisions and look at the bigger picture. See how your choices affect your lifestyle. The day-to-day choices you make will have a great impact on your retirement in the future. You need disciple and to be rewarded for good behavior.