29 June 2006

Three Big Questions from The Number

I wanted to mention one of my favorite parts from reading The Number. It's near the end (so stop reading if you want to stay in suspense :), but it was a set of questions called "The Three Big Ones." You are asked, or ask yourself these questions, and you should physically write down the answers, answering the first one before reading the second question, and so on. He discusses this more in the book, and how people tend to answer them (the general trend/traits of the answers). I think they are a great way to think about not just retirement and financial planning, but what you are doing in life. Note that these are actually quoted in the book from George Kinder, a speaker on "life planning":

  1. Assume that you've got all the money you need - enough for the rest of your life. Maybe you're not as rich as Warren Buffet, but you never have to worry about money for any reasons. The question is, what would you do with it? How would you live?
  2. You go to the doctor. The doctor discovers you have a rare illness. He says that you are going to feel perfectly fine for the rest of your life. But he says, the illness will prove fatal. The sorry outcome will occur sometime within five and ten years. It will be sudden. The question is, now that you know that your life will be over in five years, how would you live it? What would you do?
  3. [it will sound like the previous one, but is different...] It starts the same way. You go to the doctor. You're feeling perfectly healthy. And again the doctor says you have a serious illness. But then the doctor syas, 'You only have twenty-four hours to live.' What I want to know is, what did you you miss? Who did you not get to be? What did you not get to do?
Pretty good eh? Obviously, #3 is the heavy hitter. It's a good way to think about things. It sure made me think.