tyranny of the shoulds

Don’t Let Anybody “Should” All Over You

photo shows a stop sign with a blue sky behind it

Trying to lose weight? Maybe you could focus on exercise, on diet, or on a combination of factors.  

Trying to repair something around the house? Maybe you could watch a tutorial and try your hand at it, or maybe you could hire out the work. 

But which way should you do it? 

The thrilling answer for many of life’s challenges and goals is that it depends. Lots of paths can lead to success. When we work with you, our clients, on your financial challenges and goals, the same is true.  

  • “What should I be doing to plan for retirement?” 
  • “What should I do with this inheritance?” 
  • “What should I do about this account?” 

It depends. That’s why we’re here to work with you, wherever you are in your process. 

Telling people what they “should” do with their money seems, to us, kind of gross. And we don’t want anyone to “should” all over you! 

I first heard this advice years ago from speaker and author Amy Florian, and it has roots with German theorist Karen Horney who talked about the “tyranny of the shoulds”: if we get too wrapped up with what we imagine what we “should” be doing, we lose sight of what we have and what’s within our control. 

The idea comes to mind whenever I read or hear some supposed expert on whether you “should” pay off your mortgage early or “should” retire at a certain age or “should” do anything. (I believe, quite often it comes from financial planners who seem to think they’ve been ordained to tell people how to live.) 

We think the first priority when you engage us on any issue is to outline the range of possibilities; then we can look together at the options and their ramifications. We’ll tell you what we think, but we will not tell you what to do.  

It is your money, your choice. What will help you sleep easy each night? What dreams are worth  pursuing each day? 

So what “should” you do? Well, we’d gently recommend that you not let anybody “should” all over you! 

Clients, let us know when we can help you address any of those “should” type of questions you may have.


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