Financial Planner 43551

The Singularity: Family Edition

In Retirement Thinking, The Insider by Adam Cufr

The technological singularity (also, simply, ‘the singularity’) is the hypothesis that the invention of artificial superintelligence (ASI) will abruptly trigger runaway technological growth, resulting in unfathomable changes to human civilization (source: Wikipedia). I see this as the moment when all sorts of systems speak to one another and work together, and things take off and progress as never before. It’s equal parts exciting and terrifying, depending on your worldview.

It turns out that running a family with six kids feels a lot like the opposite of the singularity; it’s wildly unorganized. Take yesterday for example. In the Cufr household, we did the following:

  • Grandparents’ Day at the twins’ school. Get the girls out of bed and ready to leave an hour earlier than normal.
  • Get the baby (okay, 19 month-old) ready to go to Grandma’s house following Grandparents’ Day at school.
  • Push other three girls to get out of bed and off to their respective schools on time (one daughter who shall remain nameless misses the bus every other day, requiring her to be driven to school)
  • Handoff baby to Grandma.
  • After school voice (singing) lessons.
  • Tap dance lessons.
  • Ballet lessons.
  • Girl Scouts.
  • Skate night with the intermediate school.
  • Junior high choir concert.
  • Baby got sick so Grandma stayed with her during concert.
  • Head home to relieve Grandma.
  • Count the humans to be sure they all made it home safely.
  • Push six kids to go to bed in order to start it all over tomorrow.

Oh, and I worked all day and Carie finished paperwork for various school enrollments, went grocery shopping, and gathered all Girl Scout Cookie order money to turn in. Then Carie and I attempted to have a conversation about something I can’t recall because we were too exhausted and went to bed immediately after cleaning up the kitchen of all the dinner mess.

So while technology may be moving toward a future where the machines run themselves efficiently and push us into a singular and unified experience, running a family is still wildly people-intensive.

I share all of this for two reasons: 1. Our family’s logistics are pretty ridiculous and so is your busy life, and 2. This is what it can feel like to manage and organize a successful retirement plan. With so many moving pieces to coordinate, it’s imperative that we’re clear on the goals and objectives while simultaneously ensuring we’re building a great team to work together for the good of the collective.

The technological singularity is a fascinating concept. The idea that all of the pieces will eventually meld together and run so well and so fast that we’ll need to protect ourselves from its advances sounds equal parts awesome and frightening. That said, I’ve experienced the challenges of complex systems in my own household. The systems are complex because they’re ultimately made by and are serving human beings. Until your retirement planning is simply a pure math exercise, we’ll be here to ensure the human elements are taken into consideration. Because without you, it’s just numbers. And if it’s just numbers, technology is all we need…until it takes over.

All the best,

Adam Cufr, RICP®