I’ll miss you, “Major Steps in Asset Allocation”

OK, this may seem like a weird post, but bear with me a bit…

In my life as an actuary, I took exams.  A lot of exams.  And I spent a lot of time studying for those exams.  A lot of time.  If you are an actuary or are married to one, you know what I am talking about.

As I was cleaning my office a bit today, I came across some of that study material.  Here’s a sample of one of the many lists I had memorized for one exam.  (I know if won’t make sense out of context, but, again, bear with me…)

List from Mike Carmody's 2002 Study Guide for Exam 6

[Credit where it is due: That list came from p.115 of the JAM study guide for 2002 for Exam 6 by Mike Carmody, FSA.  His materials were a great help, and I always thought his seminars were excellent.  I always appreciated his willingness to let me go through his overhead slides on Saturday night or Sunday since I always missed the portion of his seminar that fell on the Sabbath.  His seminars and materials are still around for those who need them: www.studyjam.com.  He was a fantastic instructor, and I can’t imagine that has changed.]

Having been a pastor now for several years, I have no need for that study guide anymore, nor those lists (or the many, many, many, many, many additional lists that went along with this one).

Yet, it is startlingly hard for me to throw those study guides away.

Again, it’s not that I need the material.  It’s not that I think some current actuary might need them — the material gets dated fairly quickly, and the exam systems change every few years.  It’s not that they make for pleasurable reading (though the graphs I drew as notes on page 146 are pretty cool).  It’s not even that I like the material, though I did enjoy it on some level.

Rather, it’s a matter of Matthew 6:21 —

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

And I have a lot of “treasure” tied up in those materials.  In fact, given that 2002 was the first of multiple attempts at Exam 6 for me, I have a lot of treasure tied up in that specific exam.  It isn’t necessarily monetary treasure, though that was certainly involved.  But the time, the energy — the blood, sweat, and toil that went into that study and those exams… That’s “treasure” just as much as the money that was spent, perhaps even more so.

As someone taught me once, that comment made by Jesus Christ is more than just a way to find out where your heart currently is (though it is great for that).  It is also a way to place your heart somewhere, for better or for worse.  The more we spend that “treasure” on something, the more of ourselves we invest there, and the more attached we become to it.

Consequently, there is a great deal of my heart tied up in that material, even if I will never, ever, ever use it again.  Not that I think I will ever go back to that life — I’m committed to the task to which God has called me and He has something to say to those who begin to plow while looking back in Luke 9:62.  But still, it’s hard to toss that study guide into the trash can.

Still, I’m going to.  I need the space, and my office needs the focus.  And so does the office’s occupant.

“Major Steps in Asset Allocation,” we’ll always have Paris.  Or… Nashville, I suppose. 🙂

6 thoughts on “I’ll miss you, “Major Steps in Asset Allocation”

  1. Linda Patterson

    For all the scerious thought this post created in me, I am cleaning the treasure or better put the cobwebs of treasure I have out. Space for the improtnt work and the new treasure is the thinking. The line:“Major Steps in Asset Allocation,” we’ll always have Paris. Or… Nashville, I suppose. ;It made me laugh. It is good to have a little levity in ones day. Good going there Mr. S

  2. Ed Ewert

    I totally understand where you are coming from, sir. In university computer science classes I studied things like Mealey & Moore machines, finite automata and Turing machines. Fascinating stuff, but totally useless to me. Nonetheless, I hung on to my notes and my expensive text books for a very long time, perhaps with the intention of becoming the expert in this subject that I hadn’t become while taking the classes. But I finally realized I just don’t have time for it and threw it all away. There are a number of times when I’ve felt I just have to let go of something because it would, nowadays cut inappropriately into Bible study time (chess for instance. I used to have fine chess pieces, the chess clock, volumes A thru E of the chess encyclopedia, etc. Now, I think I still have a chess set. I’d have to search.).

  3. Norbert

    The comments made me wonder how much the apsotle Paul enjoyed tent making.

    I’ve met numerous men and the occasional woman in my trade and they basically boil down to two types. Those that are rather skilled at it and don’t like it and those that are rather skilled at it and enjoy it.

    I believe it’s ok to enjoy something that can be productive and when it is possible to earn an honest days wages through it a person should be thankful for such a persuite. And like the apostle Paul it also is in the realm of possiblity that one day another proffession may come in handy. Just beware not to make it the most important thing in life.

  4. Mrs. Patterson: Thanks!

    Mr. Wheeler: Ha!

    Mr. Ewert: Now you’re going to make me fess up to all the other books that I am keeping…

    Mr. Norbert: I agree. It has often struck me that as the economy plummets, some ministers may need to help support themselves in some manner to keep enough money going to the Work. I don’t know if actuarial work is the sort of work that could lend itself to such a role, though my teaching background may come in handy. (I could also work as a macaroni and cheese tester.)

What are you thinking?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s