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Strategic Incompetence

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A recent article in the Wall Street Journal says that, “Strategic incompetence isn’t about having a strategy that fails, but a failure that succeeds. It almost always works to deflect work one doesn’t want to do — without ever having to admit it.”

 

We’ve all run into this before. My kids don’t want to do their chores, so they pretend they aren’t capable. If they do a poor enough job, they reason, perhaps someone will take over for them. This is the essence of strategic incompetence.

My husband has used this to good effect when it comes to things like knowing where we keep items in the kitchen. He called me during a meeting just last week to find out where we keep our colander. His strategic incompetence keeps him from ever having to put away all the dishes.

And yes, I’ve used it, too. I hate all things technical. Am I strategically incompetent when it comes to the computer? You bet. I can’t change an ink cartridge in the printer or figure out a solution when anything goes wrong with the computer. And I don’t want to learn, either. I’d rather remain strategically incompetent and rely on my dear husband to do it for me!

But when it comes to finances, that is where a woman should draw the line on strategic incompetence. My husband asked me recently to read the book, “Smart Women Finish Rich” by David Bach. You have to understand: my husband is a financial advisor, so if anyone has reason to be strategically incompetent when it comes to finances, it’s me. I shouldn’t have to think about all that, should I? I can, literally, pass the buck to him. Or can I?

This book opened my eyes to all the things that I don’t know about our finances. What if something happened to my husband? Would I know who holds our life insurance policies, our will, our investments, and our children’s college funds? I know our taxes are always taken care of, but I never review the returns myself. And my kids know more about which mutual funds they own than I know about mine.

I hadn’t finished the first chapter of this book before I realized that strategic incompetence wasn’t a good idea when it came to finances. My husband and I talked about what our goals would be for our children if one of us were to die, and we decided that we both needed more life insurance. Getting a better handle on our investments has helped me to be zealous about saving more money, now that I understand the true cost of not saving verses the compounded return on a good investment.

My husband is still handling all things financial for our family, but at least I’ve pulled my head out of the sand, and I’m trying to keep it out. At least when it comes to finances, anyway. I don’t think I’ll ever learn how to set up our antivirus software or be able to find the folder where all my downloads go. I guess a little strategic incompetence never hurt anyone…

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About Molly Evert

Writer Molly Evert is a wife and homeschooling mom to 6 kids, who range in age from 2 to 18. She runs an educational website, My Audio School (http://www.myaudioschool.com), providing access to the best in children's audio literature. She also blogs at CounterCultural Mom (http://www.counterculturalmom.com) and CounterCultural School (http://www.counterculturalschool.com).

Encouraged? Share this post...

Molly Evert

Writer
Molly Evert is a wife and homeschooling mom to 6 kids, who range in age from 2 to 18. She runs an educational website, My Audio School (http://www.myaudioschool.com), providing access to the best in children's audio literature. She also blogs at CounterCultural Mom (http://www.counterculturalmom.com) and CounterCultural School (http://www.counterculturalschool.com).

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