For better or worse, I tend to be a stickler for semantics and exactitude. As you might imagine, that usually means going through life with this mindset is “for worse”. I dislike it when advertisers use the word “fast” instead of “quickly” even though, as I have grudgingly learned after looking it up, the word “quickly” is both an adjective and an adverb. I’m old school. I would say “a fast car is one that can be driven quickly”. To me, “a fast car is one that can be driven fast” just sounds silly. Alas, it is nonetheless grammatically permissible. The dictionary begs to differ and I am left with no alternative but to stand down. Before I do this completely, I’d like to explore something.
I was recently discussing the word “inconsiderate” and I asked a friend about what that word means to her. We mostly agreed on the definition before I looked it up. Here’s what I found when I did that: in.con.sid.er.ate adjective… thoughtlessly causing hurt or inconvenience to others.
The example I like to use to illustrate my interpretation of the word is when two or three people walk abreast – slowly – on a narrow sidewalk and are oblivious to my wanting to pass them. This also applies to escalators (including those going down – don’t get me started) and anywhere else where basic locomotion in a public area might be impeded. The people impeding me aren’t doing it deliberately, but they are nonetheless thoughtlessly causing hurt or inconvenience to me as they go about their lives.
I ran into a similar problem a couple of months ago when I expressed my concern that some financial advisors were being blinded by the excessive valuations in both the bond and equity markets. Is that inconsiderate on their part? I didn’t mean for my comments to be accusatory or suggest malfeasant behavior. Rather, it was a lament. I was concerned with what I felt might have been an unwitting oversight. My sincere fear is that some advisors are missing an important piece of market information. They are almost certainly not doing it intentionally. I also don’t think they are being shoddy in their work. Far from it. I simply fear that some of my friends in the business are not thinking enough about how to act considering current market valuations – and that that lack of consideration might ultimately cause hurt or inconvenience to their clients.”
Don’t shoot the messenger. My looking at precise definitions has gotten me into trouble in the past and may well do so again. Still, I believe it is at least fair to ask the question: “are financial advisors being inconsiderate by not alerting their clients to the perils associated with high market valuations?” My usage may not be consistent with how many people define the word, but it does seem to square with the correct definition.