For many financial advisors, financial planning advice traditionally focuses on optimization: tax-efficient, continually rebalanced portfolios are often designed to maximize a client's wealth throughout retirement. Such optimization can serve as the backbone of an advisor's value proposition, providing a bottom-line analysis that communicates why those (not insubstantial) fees are worthwhile at the end of the day. However, this approach can become complicated when clients want to make a decision that isn't about maximizing their wealth, but instead about finding the capacity for more emotional fulfillment in their lives (e.g., taking a sabbatical, using a reverse mortgage to fund a dream goal, transitioning their work/life balance). And when these clients ask their advisor for permission to make such a decision, the financial advisors might find themselves in a tricky position, where the 'right' answer that clients want the advisor to come up with may not make sense in a spreadsheet designed to optimize returns.
In our 122nd episode of Kitces and Carl, Michael Kitces and client communication expert Carl Richards discuss navigating the 2 balance sheets of a client: 1) the literal financial spreadsheet and 2) the 'emotional' balance sheet of their lives, and upholding one's duty as a fiduciary and advicer when these 2 balance sheets come into conflict.
While advisors often create financial plans for their clients that ensure a full and secure retirement, they also want to support their clients' desire to pursue meaningful goals and enriching life experiences – which can sometimes require straying from the client's originally designed financial plan. To navigate a sensible balance between these 2 important objectives, advisors can start by helping clients prioritize their goals and identifying their most meaningful objectives. Then, by assessing the bottom-line impact of reaching their goal on their financial plan (e.g., the potential changes to their saving, spending, and planned retirement dates), advisors can help clients discern whether they can really afford those goals.
Advisors may also find it helpful to encourage clients to consider the impact on their own human capital – which includes not just their wealth, but also their time, energy, and attention. Using a human capital framework can offer clients a broader perspective to understand the actual resources they need to live the life they aspire to and how their overall financial wellness fits into that picture. Which can help clients narrow down what really matters to them most. Because, at the end of the day, living a fulfilling life – whether that means a 6-month sabbatical or the pottery studio in the backyard – might be what actually enables (and motivates!) clients to work longer, thus indirectly maximizing their overall wealth!
Ultimately, the key point is that while advisors work incredibly hard to deliver value by watching out for their clients' financial wellbeing, they also have unique opportunities to add tremendous value by also supporting their clients' emotional needs by helping them evaluate and act on spending decisions that can turn long-held dreams into reality!
***Editor's Note: Can't get enough of Kitces & Carl? Neither can we, which is why we've released it as a podcast as well! Check it out on all the usual podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Spotify, and Stitcher.
- Kitces & Carl Ep 121: Can You Just Do Good Work And Get Noticed As An Advisor Or Do You Have To Self-Promote?
- "I am dying at age 49. Here’s why I have no regrets." by Amy Ettinger
- Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words by David Whyte
- Retirement comic
- Kitces & Carl Ep 46: Communicating With Long-Standing Clients When Transitioning To A Planning-Based Business Model
- You Can Have Anything In Life, But Not Everything
Kitces & Carl Podcast Transcript
Michael: Hello, Carl.
Carl: Michael Kitces.
Michael: How are you doing, sir?
Carl: I'm great. How are you?
Michael: I'm doing well. I'm doing well. I'm still reveling in the interesting feedback from the last episode and the fun dynamics of marketing that isn't, but totally is marketing. But I feel like now we've got a little bit of a theme to explore for a while of, I don't know, mental contradictions and challenges, and now your theme of quotes. And so, you had made this comment to me recently about the interesting challenges that crop up when you're trying to help clients make decisions that don't make financial sense. Right? Because so much of our world is all like we help our clients make the rational approaches. We help talk them out of the not-good, not rational decision. And at some point, it's basically, we can spreadsheet all of this – whatever's wealth maximizing, that's the correct answer and anything else is not the correct answer. But, of course, real life doesn't always align this way. Right?
And to some extent that's because just maybe we have preferences that aren't purely wealth-maximizing preferences. And it's okay to acknowledge those preferences in the logical extreme at some point: "I've got enough money. The goal is not literally wealth maximization anymore. It's enjoy the money or do something different with the money." I look at this in personal family circumstances with a family member that went and got a reverse mortgage because they really want to stay in their house, and they don't have enough cash flow to handle it. And I could do the spreadsheet math of why racking up reverse mortgage debt plus the heck and closing costs and all that stuff are not mathematically optimal, but the reality is she has enough money to accomplish her goal. She just happens to be a little kind of house-rich, cash-poor dynamic. It lets her stay in the house that she wants to stay in, that she's been in for decades. And any spreadsheet would say this is not a financially optimal decision. It just happened to be the single breakthrough that made her the happiest she's been in years when she finally discovered that there was a path to not have to leave the house that she wants to stay in. And that was one that came up in my world.
But that, recently… but that phenomenon I think is a really interesting one and often challenging, I think for some of us advisors. Like, how are you supposed to navigate giving someone the right recommendation, the right advice when the answer is, you should totally do that thing that's going to reduce your wealth?
Balancing the Wealth- And Fulfillment-Maximization 'Spreadsheets' As A Fiduciary [02:57]
Carl: Yeah. I love this topic. To me, it's interesting because we have such a hard time with feelings because they don't fit in the spreadsheet. And...
Michael: I know, I find it very aggravating.
Carl: I know you do, those silly feelings. What was that? Oh, Feynman's quote was great, right? "Imagine how hard physics would be if electrons had feelings." So good. But when I look back at my career with clients, all the memories, all the best decisions, I would consider it my best work if I were to put up a portfolio page like a photographer would have, the pictures would all be of things that didn't make sense. I can remember Denise wanting to build her pottery studio in the backyard. Dave and Diane wanting to take the 6-month sabbatical at age 37, right? Height of his career. Dan getting laid off 5 years earlier than he expected and instead of going straight back to work, deciding to paraglide, travel the world in paraglide, like these things didn't, let alone the should I pay off the mortgage or should I take the trip? And I've been to mortgage payoff parties, where some symbolic thing was…
Michael: Rates? Well, actually rates are higher now, so that feels more reasonable. For the past 10 years.
Carl: Yeah. Even at a 2.9% mortgage payoff party, I've never been to an efficient market portfolio party. I've never been to one where somebody's celebrating like, look how great. And I'm not downplaying efficient, beautifully designed portfolios. They're amazing, but nobody has a party about them. People do have parties.
Michael: Nobody has an efficient markets hypothesis party.
Carl: A portfolio party. Yeah. Look at this beautiful portfolio I have. So, I think it's amazing. And I think what's interesting is they're almost always, I think about where these come up in the client meeting. They're almost always like these… Yeah, I remember getting in a little fight on Twitter with somebody who said, and this will probably turn into a distraction for us. I don't mean it to be, but somebody who said, "Being a stay-at-home mom is always a bad financial decision." And I remember saying, "Well, ask my wife." She doesn't think it's a bad financial decision because we have an emotional balance sheet. And on that balance sheet is a line item that says, and my wife made that choice, I didn't... Gosh, I'm so grateful she did. Right? But she made a choice despite having a finance degree and being the CFO of a small real estate company, she made that choice. She put massive, and so did I, massive value on that. And in our emotional balance sheet, there was a big number. Actually, the number didn't exist. It said invaluable. So that doesn't make much… You're right.
From a spreadsheet perspective, that does not make sense for 1 spouse to... Sometimes it doesn't make sense. When we get into the whole childcare thing and maybe there's an argument there, fine. But let's just say 2 very high-earning spouses, it doesn't make sense. And yet people routinely do it because there's another thing to calculate in. So how do we... The bigger question to me is almost like, how do we incorporate feelings that may not make sense in the spreadsheet into our plans? Because you always notice when they come up, they come up as side notes. But if you pay attention, I call them the crunchy bits in a client meeting. If you pay attention, they're mentioned with some emotional resonance. Sometimes it's just sort of bashfulness around, "Oh, I'd love to build a pottery studio. Nah, never mind." "Carl, we were thinking about a 6-month…" but we kind of think it's like they're just looking for permission to do something slightly irresponsible, but they don't want to do it as irresponsible. How do you fit that? How do you, Michael Kitces, fit that into your spreadsheet? Being your brain, that spreadsheet.
Michael: So, look, here's what strikes me about this conversation. I don't find these that hard to find in the client conversations, right? As you said it, they, "Oh, I was sort of thinking about what it'd be like to make pottery studio in the backyard." "We actually were thinking for a moment, what if we took 6 months off after, like Dave's laid off before we go back to work." And often those comments do come up as sort of a side comment, a throwaway, you can tell it wasn't really a throwaway. You've been thinking about that. That was not literally a random flow of thought in the meeting. You just sort of said it and threw it out there that way, for which I think it is very much a phenomenon of, because really they're probably looking for permission. The challenge, so candidly, from my end, the problem is not that those feelings as you frame it come in, and sometimes, frankly, they're stated more overtly. "Tell me about your goals and what you want to accomplish coming up." Well, here we really want to get to the point where Bob earns enough that Betty can stay home full-time because they want to start a family and they want to do a single-earner thing. They say it, right?
Michael: It's a stated goal. The thing that strikes me, I don't have problem spotting those and seeing those in the meeting. It's not that hard to me to then start the conversation like, "Wait, wait, wait, say that again? What was that? What are you thinking about doing? Wait, tell me more about that." I can open that space up because they threw the conversation out there. I think the most striking part of it – and I can particularly appreciate relative value shaped it up – what's usually going on is they're trying to get permission. They know it's not mathematically optimal, financially optimal. At least for some of them. The pottery studio is not because I'm going to sell enough pottery to pay the studio off. I'm not really doing the sabbatical because I think it's going to give me the moment of clarity to get the dream job when I come back from it. I just fricking need 6 months of break because my job is burning me out. They often know it's not a financially optimal thing. I think you're very dead on in framing. Often, they're basically saying it because they want permission.
The crux of it for me, I have the problem because I'm the numbers guy that's supposed to give them permission for the thing that doesn't add up on the spreadsheet. And I'll own it for me both personally and to serve collectively on behalf of my wealth-maximizing brethren, that just there... So much of what we do, even around how a lot of us are communicating and marketing financial planning these days, it's literally all wealth-maximization terms, right? The value of planning is the x percentage points or basis points that I add because you're going to get this much on asset location, you're going to get this much from tax planning. You're going to get this much from me helping you not sell out of the markets at an inopportune time. We literally stack up the benefits.
The whole reason why you're supposed to pay me my financial planning fees is because the value of the advice I'm going to give you will increase your wealth by more than the cost of the fees to pay me for that advice. Except when it's actually not. Because the advice I'm going to give you is, yeah, totally take the sabbatical. You're already paying me thousands of dollars. Let's blow up tens of thousands dollars in income on top of that. Why not? Let's just go for it. And that to me is the challenge that sits weird somewhere in the pit of my stomach is the, am I really supposed to give permission for this? I get why they want to do it and I could do the math to figure out if they can afford it. Look, if they really, really, really can't afford it, then we probably need to have that conversation.
But to be fair, there's some like, "Yes, Denise, your financial plan's going to be okay if you make the pottery studio." Heck, you might even stay in your job another year or 2 and make a whole lot more money in the long run because you just don't burn out. Because you seem to get really rejuvenated when you do the pottery. There's health benefits, there's mental health benefits. I can talk about all of that, but to me the challenge, at least for mine, the challenge is not when clients show up with the emotions. Well, I got a little of that, but the problem is not when the clients show up with their emotions and they want to do some, I'll call, I don't know, reasonably irrational things…
Michael: … It's that I'm supposed to give permission and I can't validate this by how I explain my value. I can't validate this with a spreadsheet. I mean, I can do it: "Just, you just seem like you need this and I'm going to give you permission. Okay." But that's where the tension comes, at least for me, when I reflect on those conversations, those moments when they've come up over the years. I struggle with giving them permission unless they're just so stinking wealthy that I know they can afford it. But those are the easy ones. I'm not counting those. When there's really stuff at stake. You're going to take a 6-month sabbatical at 37 and I don't know what your job outlook's going to look like on the other end if you take time off. I got nothing in my spreadsheet that says this is a good idea. I don't have any particular career advice that says this is a good idea. I'm sitting across you, I can see you're probably burning out and that this is probably a good idea in the grand scheme of things. There ain't no math that's ever going to justify this, that's where it's hard for me. So, I don't know if that's from you because you're Carl and you travel a different journey on some of these decisions yourself. You have more of a comfort in the uncertainty zone than I do. But that's the hard part is I'm really…
Carl: That's really interesting.
Michael: ...giving you permission to do something that I ironically will cost you more money than the fees that I charge you. But we ain't netting positive this year.
Navigating Trade-offs And Uncertainty In 'Less Optimal' Client Decisions [14:00]
Carl: Yeah. That's really interesting. I think, let me just take a stab at this because I'm interested. You could frame this up as a pretty simple conversation, which is they have a goal. And our value is based, not on portfolio performance or whatever, our value is based on progress towards goals. We help them identify a goal, discover the goal over time. We've talked about that before. Goal discovery over time. We've helped them figure out, which is a whole 'nother David Whyte quote that we were going to talk a little about. Which David Whyte had this to say that Irish – Irish not Scottish – Irish poet, "Only slowly do we learn what we really care about and allow our outer life to be realigned in that gravitational pull." So, this idea that we... It takes time to figure out what these goals are, but we could frame this up pretty simply. Over time, we've discovered we really want to take a sabbatical. We've been thinking about it for a long time. Oh, that's a goal. Progress towards goals. My value is I helped you meet the goal. That's a pretty simple way to frame it up. But I think that the feeling's still the same because here's what happened.
I remember exactly where I was because I was living in Vegas serving clients still in Utah. I was using, these were brand new things back then. A crazy co-working space, this is a brand new idea back then. And so a temporary office, I was meeting with him in this office. I remember exactly where it was, I remember what the office looked like. When Dave and Diane came and we were having our normal review, and they were really bashful, kind of we have this thing we want to talk about. So, it was very much like we know this is kind of a silly idea because no one does this. Who leaves their job at age 37 or 39, whatever age he was, and takes 6 months? Nobody… to travel the world when your kids are young. And what they said was, "We think that this is backwards to work really, really hard till your kids are in their late teens and then maybe have a little bit of time." And what they said at the time was, "By then they have purple hair and nose rings." They don't even want to talk to us. Nothing wrong with purple hair and nose rings, but… the metaphor is all it was. He said, "We want to go with our kids when they're young. So, we want to take..."
They're like, "We were wondering if we could possibly..." And I remember they said, "Could we take 6 months sabbatical travel across the country in the RV, homeschool the kids, visit all our relatives?" But again, I was like, and I remember thinking, I remember having this thought in my head, "Oh, this is golden. This is a golden chance to be really valuable in somebody's life. Don't blow it." And so, instead of just saying, because I knew it was going to be fine, and by knowing it was going to be fine, it wasn't imprudent. They didn't have enough money that it was like, there's no way this is going to ever be a problem. But they had enough where it was...but I remember saying it. I said, "Hey, that's something we can just put into the plan and see what it says. But before I do that, I would like to know something. Let's say the plan says it's not stupid. Would you go?" It was so fun, I don't have very many moments where I actually do good work with client questions. But that one, I was like, that was good. And they looked at each other like deer in the headlights and were like...
Michael: Like they weren't expecting you to actually potentially give permission.
Michael: They wanted permission, but they really expected you to talk them out of it.
Carl: Yeah. Yeah. because everybody else does it. There's all so many, it's not just the money, right? Who does this? No one does. You know what I mean? So, they both looked at each other and they said, "Yeah. Yeah, we would." And I said, "Okay, give me 2 weeks. Because that's how long it takes to calculate, right? This is a lot of work. They came back and of course, it wasn't imprudent, whatever. Their Monte Carlo went from '92 to '87 or something, I don't know what it was. And I was like, look, you can die later, or die earlier if you want, you can save a little later, you can retire – I just played with all the levers. And in the end, look, the notes I have from them and the postcards I have from them, from that sabbatical are some of the most valuable pieces, evidence of my portfolio of work with clients. The pictures I have from Dan paragliding. And so yeah, I think we just reframe it as our job isn't to, for you to die with the most money. Our job isn't to beat markets. Our job is progress towards goals. And our job is also to navigate the uncertainty of some of these trade-offs. We don't know, this could be a problem later. And it looks like it's so important to you that you're willing to deal with that. That's scary work. I think you're right. It's hard to look people in the eyes and be, I don't know, let me paint for you the trade-offs.
Michael: Yeah. I can live with the give them the trade-offs, right? Let's whatever. What if scenario analysis: "Look, I'm going to show you your plan if you do this, I'm going to show you your plan if you don't, and there's going to be some trade-off and some implications of save more work, spend less work later." Right? All the levers we can pull. And then they can make the decision. Okay, given what you're looking at here, are you comfortable with this trade-off? I think for me, for better or worse, it's the folks where I know it's not just the numbers thing. They still, some of them come back, and do you think we should do it? I've got a question over the years. I'm assuming you have as well. At some point just say, do you think we should do this? And they're asking, I think well, my challenge. Sometimes they're asking for permission. Sometimes they're asking to be talked out of it, right? When clients call because they're freaking out about markets, and they want to sell, either it's literally an imperative order. Just sell me and the end of conversation.
Otherwise, the only reason they called is they want to be talked out of it. That's why they make the phone call. It's not like they don't know what you're going to say when markets are volatile and they call and say, "Do we need to sell?" They know you're going to say no, you're supposed to hold. They call because they literally want to be talked out of it. They need that comment, they need that reassurance. They need a place to vent and go through the turmoil and the fear that they're living. But I think that the, I guess, the tension to me is sometimes they're saying it because I'm supposed to give them permission. Sometimes they're saying it because I'm actually supposed to talk them out of it. I've got to have some... Either I've got to figure out which it is, which, granted, sometimes it's pretty extreme and clear.
But otherwise, to me there's a barometer we have to do as advisors to figure out is this the one I'm going to give them permission or is this the one I'm going to try to talk them out of it? What I'm hearing from you, Carl, is there's a prudence, imprudence threshold. Like, "Ah, it's not ideal, but you're not totally hosing yourselves. You got it. You still got a pretty good opportunity to recover. You seem to understand the ramifications of your decisions and what it's going to be like. I'll give you permission for this. You're doing some calculation in your head or with the spreadsheet, I hope, but of where is the line between it's okay to give them permission and when are you supposed to talk them out of it? And just, finally, from the advisor end, I guess that's sort of the crux to me. That's a really interesting line because you can't actually really math your way to that line. It's a professional judgment call about where that line is. And just the fact that that line exists means we have to start with the whole I maximize your wealth and do no harm. That's really kind of out the door. It's, "I'm going to help you pursue your goals and I'm going to try to keep you up from only doing a little bit of harm to yourself." Don't do a lot...
Carl: Yeah. I mean, but...
Michael: ...probably with that. But it's okay to do a little harm. That's my financial planning philosophy with clients now, right? And that's...
Carl: Yeah. Well, my definition of...
Michael: That's such a strange professional line to have to navigate.
Finding The Line As An Advisor To Give 'Permission' [22:45]
Carl: It is. I agree. I think there's 2 things that are important. One is my definition of real financial planning is aligning a person's use of capital with what's important to them. And capital has an asterisk, time, money, energy, and attention. So, my definition is aligning their use of time, money, energy, and attention with what's important to them. And I would draw that as a Venn diagram, of course, and I'd want as much overlap as possible. And so, it's not about maximizing wealth, it's about aligning what's important to you with your time, your money, your energy and attention. So, that's interesting to me. And then the second piece is, this is not physics. We talked, I think in the last episode about Feynman's quote around, "Imagine how hard physics would be if electrons had feelings." This is not physics. And my...
Michael: Hard financial planning is because clients do have feelings.
Carl: Yeah, that's exactly right. This is one of my favorite examples is Morgan Housel's note about the Mars rover, that they launched it, whatever it took, they calculated when it would land and it was going to be about 8 years, if I have that right. I can't remember the exact number, 8 to 10 years. And they calculated the day and the time they thought it would land. And they were within 4 hours. It was 99.99997% accurate. Well, that's because that's physics. So, the line of prudence or imprudence is we wish we had some math that would tell us that clearly. So, there is a huge judgment call. So, I just want to read you 1 more thing and we can see what this does to you. So, this is a "Washington Post" article that Amy Ettinger just wrote. Did you read this?
Michael: I don't think so.
Carl: So, Amy… I'm dying at age 49. Here's why I have no regrets. So, Amy wrote this great book about ice cream where she toured the country, I can't remember what the name of the book was. It was sweet spot, ice cream binge across America. So she wrote this great book. She finds out she has cancer. It's an incredibly sad article, but it's so interesting. And as part of it, she says, 49 years old, "I've never had a bucket list. Instead, I said yes to life." And she talks a little bit about this. And then she said, "Money always comes back. But if you miss out on an experience, the opportunity may never come back." Now this is in quotes, so let me just make sure if there was something. Okay. "This has been my mantra since I met my husband. Even when our bank account was low, we decided to move to New York and pursue our dreams of writing. It was ridiculously hard at first, but we gave ourselves no other choice. I'm a good saver." And I'll tell you, when I read this, I was struck by this. So, I'm curious what in context of this discussion. "I'm a good saver, but things like retirement accounts were never important to me when given the choice between taking a family trip to Kauai or squirreling money away in a 401k, I always chose to head to the islands." What is that? And again, this is hard to talk about because this is somebody who terminal diagnosis at 49.
Michael: It's an incredibly tragic situation. But there's a part of me that hears that I'm like, yeah, and then I'm thinking of the clients, or not even the clients, the prospects who reached out through the years who I couldn't even help because they're 63 and done that their entire lives. And it's the what was it, a Far Side comic or something? "I'm planning to retire on Friday, and I've saved nothing. This is your chance to be a genius." Right? Like that financial planning meme that I'm like, I can't solve this. I can't...
Carl: And to be clearer...
Michael: The consequence of these decisions have caught up for you for retirements for a way that it won't in her circumstance, but it does for a lot of people. And again, to me, from our end, right, from the advisor end and, well, yeah, I hear that. I hear her story. I'm like, again, this whole, am I supposed to give them permission or talk them out of it? I would've been trying to talk her out of it. I don't know that you're going to have this circumstance at 40, and I understand that you're dying at 49 with no regrets, but I don't know if you would feel the same way if you'd lived to 63, ready to retire, and came to my office.
Carl: Exactly. And look, the exception does not prove the rule. Right? This is clearly the exception because average lifespan is not 49. Right? And so, it's really hard to pick this apart because of this situation. But the truth of the matter is...
Michael: But I think it's interesting example. because I... Yeah, I'll own it. I probably would've been trying to talk her out of most of that stuff.
Carl: Which is probably the right advice.
Michael: It's like miserly lives of do nothing fun in our lives. But what she said, when I had to choose the bank account or the islands, I always choose the islands. I'm like, could we maybe occasionally…
Carl: Could we maybe?
Michael: …Always choose the island? Occasionally…?
Carl: Some of the time.
Michael: Periodically. Some of the time choose the islands. But just a good example on this, there's times where we're supposed to give them permission. There's times when we're supposed to talk them out of it. And to me…
Carl: That's right. That's right.
Michael: ...finding that line or figuring where that line is for you as an advisor, I think is an interesting thing to reflect. Because I don't think we all put the line in the same place because of our own life and circumstances and our own risk tolerance and preferences to save versus spend. That just, it's hard for that not to infuse into the way that you approach client conversations like this, that, I don't know, just to me, I don't know, the interesting takeaway even for folks who are listening is just to think and reflect for yourself. How do you draw that line? Where do you draw that line between giving them permission and talking them out of it?
I'm not talking about the markets are going crazy and crashing. We all try to talk them out. It's not those. I think it's more the scenarios, Amy: "Every time the account builds up, I'm a good saver, but every time the account builds up, I just want to spend it to go to the islands. And I do." Right? Dave and Diane taking the sabbatical at 37, to me that's at least a little bit more, you're in some uncertain space. I really don't know if this is going to not go well for you. Yeah. Where and how do you draw the line between permission and talking them out of it, and just do you even have a clear framework in your head about where and how you draw that line?
Embracing Financial Planning Outside Of The Spreadsheet [29:15]
Carl: Yeah. It's so beautiful. But the thing I want to end with, Michael, at least on my end, is just, brother, are you kidding me? This is the job? It is so cool, right? So cool that you have permission, implied permission. They don't know this when they're coming to you, they don't know this, but you have implied permission to help somebody explore these gaps between what they really want to do and what they're currently doing. What's the trade-offs? We can't do… What was that great quote? I can't remember who it was. But it was somebody who writes financial advice stuff, said, "You can have anything you want. You just can't have everything you want." And I'm not even sure that the anything piece, depending on what it is, is true. But the idea is really interesting. Like how cool is it?
Michael: Yeah. Conceptually, it's very good. I really like that.
Carl: Yeah. Yeah, I love that phrase. I wish we could remember who it was. I have a picture in my head. But how cool is it that that's the job and that dance and you can't, what's so interesting to me is you can't physics your way… I've actually been using the verb, I hope you allow me permission. I've been saying, I've been telling this exact story. "I don't say you can't physics your way." I say, "You can't Kitces your way."
Michael: I'll own it. I'll own it.
Carl: You can't Kitces your way to an answer.
Carl: You can Kitces your way to a very important set of frameworks and then in the middle of the frameworks are sort of like, I don't know.
Michael: Yes. But I think the challenge is, but when I'm going to either give them permission or talk out of it, I feel the weight of that advice on my shoulders.
Carl: For sure. For sure. When I say Kitces, I purely mean the spreadsheet. I purely mean...
Michael: I'm fine if you want to make Kitces...
Carl: A verb.
Michael: …a metaphor. Or a verb. That's fine.
Carl: It's officially a verb in the financial planning field. But I'm simply saying the spreadsheet is incredibly important and it won't be sufficient and there will be left this thing called art that we can't…because electrons have feelings.
Michael: I'd go with professional judgment, but sure.
Carl: Because electrons have feelings in this case, right? And how beautiful is that? Because then you're down to the basic level of human feeling and empathy and fear and courage and you're there to help navigate that. That's nuts. Nuts. So, thanks, Michael. This was super fun.
Michael: Thank you, Carl. Thank you.