Mantra #2:Trust, but ask questions.
Have you ever found yourself in your doctor’s office dying to ask a question? You’re so eager to ask the question, but end up not doing so because you don’t want to question the so-called expert, your physician? If people are afraid to ask questions regarding their health and well being, imagine how many questions go unanswered about their wealth, family, and careers. This is a lesson many people learn the hard way; by the hard way, I mean by getting burned one too many times. Examples of getting burned are all around you – bank foreclosures, medical errors, and promotions /salary negotiations.
Consider the example of 2 job candidates who were offered a salary of $100,000 per year. In this scenario, let’s assume Candidate A asks for a salary increase and Candidate B does not ask for a salary increase and they both accept their final offers of $105,000 and $100,000, respectively. For simplicity sake, let’s also assume a constant raise of 5% each year for 20 years and a 25% tax rate. Given these assumptions, in Year 1 Candidate A would make $78,750 and Candidate B would make $75,000 – the benefit to Candidate A for asking the question in Year 1 is $3,750. Over the 20 years, this difference also grows at a 5% rate (simple math property), yielding an aggregate difference of $123,997.33! This simple example shows the benefit gained and lost by individuals based on whether they asked the question.
People assume “experts” are “experts”, but forget that “experts” are people too (see Mantra #1). Because of their expert status, people invest a lot of trust in them assuming they are appropriately equipped to handle their expert status. It is important to trust the experts (insert your favorite cliché here that trust is the foundation of human relationships) but ask questions to educate yourselves, to challenge the experts, or to benefit financially (e.g., higher salary), mentally (e.g., increased peace of mind), or physically (e.g., better health).