It was almost a constant. When people would ask me what field I was studying in college they were always perplexed at the answer. “Risk Management” I would answer, then the next words from their mouth were “what is that??” In jest I would usually respond that some universities offered a bachelor degree to be an expert at the board game “Risk” and I was studying to be a competitive board gamer. After some giggles the conversation would then continue with me sharing my passion about a philosophy that affects all; the study of risks.
You see, every decision you make involves some type of risk. It is a constant reality that we stand to lose or gain something based on the probability of outcomes, and Risk Management seeks to approach uncertainty in a way to best utilize our time and resources.
Especially as men, we are called to be the primary risk takers within our homes. As priest, prophet, and king – you are the one who will be charged with most of the risky decisions for your family. A little bit of personal risk management can go a long way to build safety and security for your domain; and in keeping theme with Judas Maccabee, preparation for the future can ensure you have the means to achieve your desired goals. Sooo let’s get started.
Risk is defined as the potential for loss, but what stands to be lost? Your assets. In the risk management industry, assets are commonly referred to as “exposures” because they are exposed to the potential to be lost or damaged. What are common exposures? Your home, health, family, vehicles, reputation, career, etc. Everything you have of value that could be damaged or lost is considered at risk. So what can we do to mitigate or manage these risks?
The five step Risk Management process:
- Identify – your exposures.
- Analyze – the value of those exposures.
- Plan – techniques to mitigate or control the risks.
- Implement – execute your plan.
- Monitor – monitor the plan’s effectiveness and make appropriate adjustments.
Simple enough. But what are the techniques to manage risks? There are four basic approaches:
- Avoid – if you do not need to participate in the risk simply avoid it. Example: If you are not a strong swimmer, probably not the best idea to go swimming in a river. Avoiding that risk is a prudent decision in order to avoid the risk of drowning.
- Retain – If you have good savings and are confident in your family’s health habits, you can take a higher deductible on your health insurance to save some premiums. You retain the risk of smaller claims because it makes more financial sense and could potentially save money if managed properly.
- Transfer – Not many people can afford to replace their home if it burns down, so for a premium that is fractional of the home’s value, you can transfer the financial risks of rebuilding your home to an insurance company.
- Control – Some risks cannot be transferred away, but you can take steps to mitigate the frequency or severity. Locking your car at night can be a control measure to deter thieves, or if you are working on a tall ladder it may be a good idea to have it tied off to reduce the chance of the ladder falling from under you. Proactive steps to reduce the likelihood or severity of an uncertain event.
Now most people will consider insurance as the primary way to mitigate your personal risks; and professionally speaking – there are many other ways you as a man can exercise personal risk management to help you family plan for uncertainty. Here are a few key risks that you can implement some personal risk management techniques and plan to mitigate. As the old adage goes “those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”
Three key risks you should focus on as the priest, prophet, and king of your domain:
- Corporal Risk Management – Do you exercise and have healthy eating habits to fight off health risks? Are you prepared for self and/or family defense against an intruder? Does your family have and practice a fire escape plan in the home? Are the locks on the doors and windows of your home adequate? All of these items can be easily prepared for with a plan. What can be a catastrophic disaster could be seamlessly handled with proper risk management planning.
- Financial Risk Management – Insurance is a mechanism to transfer the risk of loss from one party to another. With our lawsuit happy culture and highly valued economic articles, it is extremely easy for one unplanned event to cripple or destroy your finances. With proper and affordable insurance policies you can transfer the risks of severe car wrecks, house fire, physical disability, untimely death, etc. so that your family will not be crippled by catastrophic unplanned events. Find a reputable personal insurance agent to develop your family’s financial risk management plan.
- Reputational Risk Management – the guys have touched on this in one of the podcasts, but one of the most important attributes you can posses is your reputation. If you don’t have your reputation you have nothing. The etymology of reputation means “to be thought of or considered” and you are either thought of in a positive or negative manner among your peers. This being said your reputation and how others see you is dependent upon your actions. Do you keep up your lawn? Do you always offer a kind greeting to people when you see them at the store? Do you ever spend inappropriate time with women so others are scandalized? How other people see you can usually be shaped with how you present yourself for them to perceive. Actions speak louder than words; so when it comes to your reputational risks, do you want to be seen as the man of vice? Or be seen as the man of virtue?
Now the board game isn’t completely a joke. The name comes from a very simple lesson we can take away as men. That we have to charge forward into uncertainty with confidence. As you move your pieces toward the enemy you have no idea what’s on the other side until you attack. We will experience loss, pain, damages, casualties along the way because you can never eliminate all risks. But with a solid strategic plan, and risk management techniques, some of these risks can be mitigated. As men we are called to take calculated risks, why not take the time to actively participate in those calculations?