It’s a matter of judgment…
I was recently doing some financial planning or as I’ve called it at more than one juncture in my life – “praying”. Thankfully, over the years my prayers have been answered and I can now say that I have something with which to plan.
I set to the task by dutifully listing my assets and liabilities. It was a necessary step in evaluating my financial position, but also sobering. I reviewed in some detail my retirement accounts and tried to determine not how long I would live, but how long could I afford to live. Though I don’t need to begin saying my good-byes and making any final arrangements any time soon, it will be interesting to see who goes first – me or the money! Here’s where the “praying” starts again. I’m “praying” I win this race to the end…
At some point during all this serious, sobering work, I pushed back from my desk and walked to the kitchen for a cold drink. It was when I rounded the bend from hallway to kitchen that it occurred to me – this house is too big! I should sell the house and downsize my expenses.
Returning to my desk, I immediately pulled up the Zillow website to find out the value of my home – another sobering moment! But it is what it is…Zillow had my house estimate at a shockingly low value. There is no way I could sell it for that price. But they must know, right? They have done all the data crunching. They have evaluated the comps in the neighborhood. Surely I should believe that their estimate is accurate.
Resigned to the fact that Zillow knows the truth of my properties value, I considered my next steps. I guess a sign on the lawn and ad in the local paper should come next. But wait…what about a Realtor? If Zillow has the price right, I probably don’t need a Realtor, right?
WRONG! Zillow knows a lot about my property and neighborhood, but not everything! Zillow doesn’t know about the Gazillions of dollars I have spent improving the property. There are the granite countertops, the complete renovation of the pool, the exquisite wood floors, the new air conditioner, among other enhancements. I need to get a professionals opinion. The Zillow algorithm is a nice place to start, but it takes a professional to put context around that information. I need a professional judgment about my homes worth in today’s market.
The importance and inherent accuracy of a professional judgment was reinforced for me when I read the report last week from the University of Pennsylvania on the high correlation between a nurses opinion on the quality of the organization in which she worked and the true quality of that organization. The lead author of the study Matthew McHugh commented: “Nurses have insights—patient-provider interactions, integration of technology, patient and family education—that are not always documented in the medical record but often make the difference between good and bad outcomes”. Professional Judgment matters!
So – if I’m a patient, I want the nurses’ professional judgment to matter in decisions about my care – they know!
But let’s get back to the house…after listing all the Gazillions of dollars and improvements I have put into this house, I consulted a Realtor who confirmed my suspicion that the house is worth a small fortune (insert laughter here!). But going through this process made me realize I really like this house, I don’t want to sell it. This decision may mean that I’m giving “money” an edge in the race to see who goes first – me or the money! But this is my decision.
The calculator may come to a different conclusion, but it doesn’t have all the facts. I am comfortable having put the calculators’ information into context and having come to a different and more informed judgment.