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What I'm reading: Ben Goss, Dynamic Planner

What I'm reading: Ben Goss, Dynamic Planner
 Credit: Donald Tong/Pexels

For much of the past year at Dynamic Planner we’ve been working on an upgraded version of our cash flow module.

As a result I’ve found myself going back to some of the financial planning books that have had the biggest impact on me.

I was originally given a copy of Life Planning for You: How to Design and Deliver the Life of Your Dreams by George Kinder and Mary Rowland by a client who runs a successful financial planning practice.

Mr Kinder’s powerful technique, coaching clients to consider what they really want from life and then working backwards from there to look at how they can best fund it, is the basis of great life planning. 

I have dipped in and out of The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity by Linda Gratton and Andrew Scott numerous times this year.

The essence of the book is that as we live longer lives, our education, career, relationships and finances will go through many stages, sometimes re-training or taking different directions.

The concept of stages as the new building blocks for life, rather than an assumed linear progression, really resonates. 

Similarly, Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable has been consulted from time to time as we’ve developed our new model.

Mr Taleb’s central idea is that averages hide the relative frequency of improbable events and therefore preparation for their potential magnitude can be missed.

This is a critical concept in financial planning. How do you best engage with a client to plan for one scenario, but to be prepared for others that could be much worse? 

I’m also reading Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Hayley. I saw the original TV series and have been meaning to read the book ever since. 

It tells the story of Kunta Kinte, a young African from The Gambia who is captured aged 16, sold into slavery and then shipped to America.

It follows his life and the history of his descendants in the US down to Mr Haley. As a work of historical fiction it’s an often harrowing reminder of the cruelty of slavery and its impact across generations. 

Ear Hustle from Radiotopia is an extraordinary podcast about the daily realities of life inside the US prison system.

Based in San Quentin’s maximum-security prison, it interviews the men incarcerated there and shares their stories.

I strongly recommend starting back at season one.

It completely changed my own view of prison and those doing time and sadly all too clearly evidences the link with the generations of discrimination relayed in Mr Hayley’s Roots. Highly recommended.

Ben Goss is chief executive of Dynamic Planner