Don’t be a bad ass(umer)

16 April 2021

reading time:  minutes

There’s a saying that if you assume something, you run the risk of making an “ass” of “u” and “me”.

Ie: ASS = U + ME

The reality, however, is that we all make assumptions, all the time.

On this basis, we’re all ASSes.

The question is: are you a bad ASS?

When we plan for the long-term future, we assume that there’s a future to plan for: that we (or our loved ones) will be around, and that the world will be fundamentally similar to its current state (ie, we’ll be living in a civil society with rule of law, electricity, and working sewage systems).

As much as we’d love to be able to make decisions based on the “gold standard” of evidence (ie, based on randomised, double-blind, prospective studies), it’s simply impossible.

Most of the time this type of evidence isn’t available, or it’s impractical or impossible to acquire.

Most of the time, our decisions are based on very unique circumstances that have never been modelled before.

We need to make assumptions, and have degrees of confidence about our views.

When new information comes to light, we need to be able to adjust our assumptions.

But we’re still working with assumptions.

Want to make an ASS out of U and ME? Make bad assumptions, and don’t adjust ever adjust them when new information becomes available.

Want to be less of an ASS? Work hard at making better assumptions.


assumptions, decision making, decisions

About the author 

Sonnie Bailey

Sonnie provides financial planning services via his business, Fairhaven Wealth ( Fairhaven Wealth provides independent, advice-only, fixed-fee financial planning services. Sonnie is also a “recovering lawyer”: he has specialised in financial services, trusts, and estate planning.

You may also like

Optimism for pessimists
Tactical sabbaticals