NEW SERIES – CRITICAL THINKING 

NEW SERIES – CRITICAL THINKING 

I am introducing a new Critical Thinking series by my friend Jim Leemann, Ph.D.  To achieve financial freedom, we need financial literacy and Critical Thinking competencies.

During the pandemic, Warren Buffett made an error. He purchased millions of dollars of U.S. Airlines stocks. Those stocks rapidly lost money, and Mr. Buffett sold, allocating the money to what he believed were better investments. Mr. Buffett is a master of Critical Thinking, so you may wonder what went wrong. He was simply wrong. What went right was his ability to critically analyze his past decisions/thinking and recognize he made a mistake. How often have you invested and failed to acknowledge it was a poor decision? My hand is raised!  

This series aims to help us achieve financial freedom by building Critical Thinking competencies. It will help with the below example decisions: 

  • Determining the right combination of retirement accounts to achieve financial freedom {401-K; ROTH IRA; Traditional IRA; Health Savings Account, etc.}
  • How do parents and students determine additional education that adds value after high school?  Contrary to what we have been told, everyone does not need a four-year degree. How do you cost-effectively pay for further education? Should you attend a lower-cost community college? A recent study found over 40 percent of new college graduates are working in jobs that do NOT require a college degree. How many millions of dollars did they borrow? Did they need that degree? Did they get the best education suited for their competencies?  

Let’s learn how to make better decisions.

CRITICAL THINKING SERIESJim Leemann, Ph.D.

Have you ever wondered why a decision you have made just doesn’t work out the way you intended? Beyond being disappointed or embarrassed, we often find ourselves scrambling to make the best with what we have or, worse yet, we take the narcissistic approach seeking an excuse or person to blame for the decision. The following is an exercise in decision-making.

Over the past 32 months, we have all been subjected to deciding on whether or not to accept or decline one of the COVID vaccines and its attendant boosters. The first signs of the SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus began to be reported in the November/December 2019 timeframe resulting in a gigantic global effort to create a COVID Vaccine as rapidly as possible. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine – the first COVID-19 vaccine – on August 23, 2021, which had been available to individuals 16 years and older since December 11, 2020, under an emergency use authorization (EUA).

For this exercise, take a moment and recall the thought process you used to decide on whether or not to take the jab when the vaccines became available. Did you assume what you were being told by government officials was correct and decide to take the jab? Were you forced to take the jab because of your employer required it to remain employed? Did your family or friends pressure you into the jab? If you decided to not take the jab, what caused you to make that decision? Was it a lack of trust in the government? Was it the overwhelming pressure by the government demanding everyone get the jab? Was it the result of doing your own research and deciding the vaccine was not for you?

The reason for this small exercise, is to surface within you the thought process you used to make what is turning out to be a fairly significant, if not the most significant, decision about your personal health based on the reactions that are being reported to the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.

Day-in and day-out, we are faced with making hundreds, if not thousands, of decisions just to navigate through our daily activities. Indeed, there are certain decisions, such as whether or not to accept an experimental vaccine, that probably warrant a more critical approach to decision-making.

To give you an approach to making these more important and difficult decisions, the following series of will present a high-level introduction to the practice of Critical Thinking.  

  1. What is Critical Thinking?

It is human nature to think if for no reason other than to simply survive. Of course, our Thinking varies from being clear-minded, to impartial, to informed, to biased, to prejudiced, to completely uninformed. The quality of our Thinking typically determines the quality of our lives.

Over the course of our lives, we typically think in unconscious ways. To an extent, we have good habits when it comes to our Thinking, but more often than not our bad habits outweigh our good habits.  

So, what exactly is Critical Thinking? Drawing upon the work of Drs. Richard Paul and Linda Elder of the Center for Critical Thinking, the definition is:

Critical Thinking is a practice of thinking wherein the thinker improves the quality of his or her Thinking by skillfully analyzing, assessing, and reconstructing what they are thinking about. Critical Thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective. It applies rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It requires effective communication and problem-solving skills, as well as a commitment to overcome one’s native egocentrism [concern for self-interest and welfare or advantage at the expense of or in disregard of others] and sociocentrism [superiority or rightness of one’s own social group].

According to Drs. Paul and Elder, to analyze one’s Thinking on a topic one must identify its purpose, the question being asked, available information, conclusion(s) already drawn, assumptions being made, implications of decisions, the main concept(s), and points of views. To assess one’s Thinking on a topic one must check one’s Thinking for clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, significance, logic, and fairness.

Possibly the most difficult challenge in being a Critical Thinker is becoming a critic of your own Thinking. The reason this is so important is to avoid the bad habit of falling prey to your preconceived biased beliefs. No question about it, routinely practicing being a critic of one’s Thinking is hard work, but usually brings welcomed rewards. Although we will delve into this practice in greater detail in coming weeks, here are the attributes of a well-rounded Critical Thinker:

  • Surfaces issues and questions on the topic and formulates them in a clear and precise fashion.
  • Collects and interprets relevant information on the topic.
  • Thinks open-mindedly on the topic using alternative systems of thought, with particular attention given to the chosen assumptions, implications, and consequences.
  • Draws reasonable conclusions and solutions on the topic by testing them against relevant criteria and standards.
  • Creates effective communications to share with others in selecting solutions to complex problems.

Most of us do not give much, if any, thought to how we think. For this reason, we find ourselves drawing conclusions and making decisions based on limited information that can lead to serious consequences. 

The goal of this column over the coming weeks is to help you identify how to think, questions to ask yourself when thinking about a problem, methods to improve how you think, and how to deal with your irrational Thinking.

For a deeper understanding of Critical Thinking, I invite you to explore the following reference sources by Drs. Richard Paul and Linda Elder, published by Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, MD:

  • Concise Edition – Critical Thinking – Learn the Tools the Best Thinkers Use
  • The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking – Concepts and Tools.
  • The Foundation for Critical Thinking https://www.criticalthinking.org/

Bio: Jim Leemann, Ph.D.

Dr. Leemann has had a 45-year career that has included being in the forefront of the safety, occupational health, and environmental fields in both the private and public sector. In addition, for 22 of those years, Dr. Leemann was an adjunct assistant professor teaching a variety of environmental and public health courses in the country’s oldest school of public health. In addition to holding master’s degrees in industrial hygiene and environmental engineering, his doctorate is in systemic management, which he has used to apply systems thinking methods to address organizational management problems.  

WHAT SUBJECTS DO YOU WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT? WHAT QUESTIONS CAN I ANSWER? UNTIL NEXT TIME!

LET’S MAKE SOME MONEY – CRYPTOCURRENCY IS STILL ACCEPTED! 

 

YOUR GREATNESS IS NOT WHAT YOU HAVE; IT’S WHAT YOU GIVE! – SOME CHARITIES I SUPPORT

St Jude Hospital:  https://www.stjude.org/

Wounded Warrior Project:  https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org

Folds of Honor:  https://foldsofhonor.org

Wilson’s No-Kill Animal Shelter:  https://wcnkas.org

 

TRUST ME – YOU WILL LIKE THE BELOW BLOGS! 

BUILDING FINANCIAL FREEDOM/LEGACY TEN DOLLARS AT A TIME!

BUILDING FINANCIAL FREEDOM/LEGACY TEN DOLLARS AT A TIME!

 

FINANCIAL LITERACY IS JUST NOT THAT COMPLICATED – TRUST ME!

https://wealthbuildingpowers.com/2019/04/01/financial-literacy-is-just-not-that-complicated-trust-me/

 

THE ROTH IRA IS SO GOOD. THE FEDS MADE A MISTAKE!

https://wealthbuildingpowers.com/2020/01/13/the-roth-ira-is-so-good-the-feds-made-a-mistake/

 

A ROTH IRA WILL IGNITE THE ENGINE FOR YOUR KID’S FINANCIAL FREEDOM

A ROTH IRA WILL IGNITE THE ENGINE FOR YOUR KIDS FINANCIAL FREEDOM

  

KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID {KISS} – THE S&P 500 ETF INDEX

KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID {KISS} – THE S&P 500 ETF INDEX

 

COMPOUND INTEREST IS THE EASIEST WAY TO DOUBLE OR TRIPLE YOUR MONEY

COMPOUND INTEREST IS THE EASIEST WAY TO DOUBLE OR TRIPLE YOUR MONEY

 

WARREN BUFFETT UTILIZED COMPOUND INTEREST TO BECOME THE 3RD RICHEST MAN ON THE PLANET!

WARREN BUFFETT UTILIZED COMPOUND INTEREST TO BECOME THE 3RD RICHEST MAN ON THE PLANET!

RETIREMENT PLANS OTHER THAN THE 401-K TO GENERATE > $1 MILLION PORTFOLIO!

RETIREMENT PLANS OTHER THAN THE 401-K TO GENERATE > $1 MILLION PORTFOLIO!

DO YOU WANT TO JOIN THE 401K PLAN MILLIONAIRE CLUB? {KINDA OF LIKE THE MILE HIGH CLUB – BUT A LOT LONGER LASTING!}

DO YOU WANT TO JOIN THE 401K PLAN MILLIONAIRE CLUB?  {KINDA OF LIKE THE MILE HIGH CLUB – BUT A LOT LONGER LASTING!}

401-K YEAR-END SALE!

401-K YEAR-END SALE! 

SO YOU GOT A HUGE TAX REFUND – NOW WHAT?

SO YOU GOT A HUGE TAX REFUND – NOW WHAT?

YOUR BIGGEST RISK TODAY – A LONG LIFE!

YOUR BIGGEST RISK TODAY – A LONG LIFE!

INVESTING IN STOCKS IS COLOR BLIND – WHAT IS STOPPING YOU?

INVESTING IN STOCKS IS COLOR BLIND – WHAT IS STOPPING YOU?

THE NEED FOR EMERGENCY SAVINGS – IS MORE IMPORTANT TODAY THAN EVER!

THE NEED FOR EMERGENCY SAVINGS – MORE IMPORTANT TODAY THAN EVER!

 

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ABOUT ME

I am a proud nerd (as my beautiful wife and daughter have told me) investment and finance blogger with an N.C.  State, Chemical Engineering, University Rutgers, MBA and Harvard University, Advanced Management education.

I left a corporate career because I desired to make a difference as a speaker and writer.  I was blessed to be coached and mentored by strong women and men in my family and professional life.  It is my time to serve and give back.

DISCLAIMER

I started my first business at ~13 years of age (a small but brilliantly created plant nursery). I am a successful investor in stocks, options, real estate and am happy to share my finance and investment lessons.  I am NOT a licensed financial advisor.  Please do not construe my suggestions on this blog as recommendations for your situation.  As an investor, you must establish your risk/loss tolerance.  Investment in any asset involves risk, including complete loss. 

 Please seek your licensed CPA or fiduciary financial advisors for individual financial advice.  

I write this weekly blog to make an impact by reaching an audience and demonstrating the need for Financial Literacy.  I will help you get there.

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Powers Investments Management, LLC

This blog will provide, information and simple strategies, that will assist you to achieve YOUR financial objectives and long term targets. For over 30 years, I solved multi-million dollar problems, for Fortune 10-250, companies. My formal education includes: Business, Finance and Chemical Engineering {Problem Solving} at: Harvard, Rutgers and North Carolina State. And an additional 30+ years, managing my family’s investment decisions. I currently manage/advise people with net-worths ranging from the tens of thousands to several million dollars.

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