Procrastination and Money Part IV: Lack of Skill

Procrastination and Money Part IV: Lack of Skill


WM 11-08 Student Art Deborah Carlson“Agh! I don’t know how to do that… oh well.” How lack of skill brings out the avoidance monster.


I remember the day I received paperwork on my brand-spanking new 401k plan. I’d been self-employed for 18 years, and for the first time in my life had a corporate job with ***benefits***! Woo-hoo! Health insurance was also brand new, and I was excited to be crossing the threshold of 40 finally having these pillars of a solid financial life.

Three months later, the 401k paperwork was still on my desk. I had money going into the account every month, but it was sitting in cash because I had NO IDEA what to invest in. I didn’t understand what a mutual fund was, let alone a small cap fund. I lacked the skill to make an informed decision… and procrastinated as a result.

Have you procrastinated because you lacked the skill or knowledge to make a decision? I think we all have at some point.


The funny thing is, rather than moving forward to learn the missing skill, most of us avoid the decision. And often this results in missing out on: saving money every month, or getting money in the market, or protecting the people we love most.

The obvious solution to a lack of skill is to learn it… yet sometimes it makes more sense to look for and receive advice from someone who devotes their life to understanding the topic.

For example— you procrastinate about handling your parents’ money, even though they’ve asked you to, because you’re not confident you have the skills to do so. Makes sense. Why not hire someone who specializes in helping the elderly with their money (they are called Daily Money Managers—more at This way you’ve stopped procrastinating while also addressing the gap in your skill set. You can ask the person you hire to teach you once they have a system in place. Who knows, you might just find you can do the job!

Another example, which stems from my own 401k paralysis, is how can you step forward into a solid, responsible decision about investing your retirement money? If you don’t want to spend hours researching mutual funds and understanding your own risk tolerance, hire a fee based financial planner to advise you on the best funds to choose. One hour and poof! You’re done, and your money will be starting to work for you. [ I wrote an entire post on the topic of choosing your financial advisor! Read here.]

Lack of financial skill is really just an opportunity to leverage the brilliance of your advisors OR motivation to learn enough to decide on your own. {click to tweet} Be cautious about getting this advice from family or close friends— as it can quickly destroy a friendship if the advice is bad.

Luna Jaffe is a Certified Financial Planner, visual artist, author and professional speaker. She holds a Master's Degree in depth psychology and is the founder and CEO of Lunaria Financial based in (yet not limited to) Portland, Oregon.


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