Creating a Life Journey
When I graduated from high school, two friends and I set out on a road trip to Alaska. We didn’t just wake up one day, get in the car, and take off. Oh no, there was much planning involved. Our first major obstacle was figuring out transportation. We were all around 18 years old, so we didn’t own a fancy Chevy Tahoe or Ford Excursion, but in the end we found a decent old Suburban. Our next difficulties came with informing our parents, finding money, planning a route, estimating time, packing supplies, and making it all come together. These things were issues that we planned for on the front end, but as we all know the old adage that the best laid plans of mice and men, often go awry. Meaning that while we planned for all these things, there were still eventualities for what we had not planned. Things like car troubles, temperaments, opposing ideas, and much more, cropped up to change our original plans. But, because we had a good foundation, it was easy for us to change, compromise, and work through whatever complications arose. We didn’t make it to Alaska, but got to the border with Canada and did make it to Seattle, Washington. Our round-trip adventure took us about a month and we drove some 4,500 miles from and to Amarillo, Texas.
As I have devoted my life to planning, I look back on this time with great respect that we were able to accomplish this goal. Not only does this seem like a near infeasibility for three 18 year olds, the sheer magnitude of the endeavor is astonishing and is something that I couldn’t replicate today – exactly twenty years later. When prospective clients ask me what the point is for financial planning, I retell this story. I want clients to understand how their financial life is a lot like this journey. Had the three of us not worked together to bring this dream to reality, we couldn’t have accomplished it.
I took it upon myself to use my love of maps to plan our route, and had it only been up to me, we would have been like the Griswolds stopping at every “World’s Largest” exhibit along the way. That would have been completely unreasonable, so it worked out well that another member of the group was only concerned with one thing – the destination. Alternatively, had my desire to see certain things not been there, my friend would have sped down every interstate highway and driven all day and night, just to get to the endpoint as quickly as possible without enjoying anything along the way.
This is exactly what financial planning is all about. Its finding the endpoint you hope to reach – sometimes you don’t reach it, just like we didn’t end up in Alaska, but we made it to Seattle, and that’s pretty good too. Knowing where you want to be lets you plan on how is best to get there. Most importantly though financial planning brings it all together. Your financial life consists of many different aspects. There is life, health, auto, homeowners insurances, estate planning, investment planning, retirement planning, cash management, and tax planning. Imagine having only a life insurance professional plan your financial life. It is like asking me to plan a trip. I want to see everything along the way! The insurance professional might have you covering every risk conceivable – even those that may be unreasonable. Now imagine having a stock broker plan your financial life. This person would be a lot like my friend who wanted to reach the end objective as quickly as possible and essentially miss all that stuff in between.
A financial planner, and also your financial plan, is the one that finds the personalized balance between your need to experience the here-and-now and your hope of reaching your final goal. A planner is the one that can help bring balance between the needs of protecting against risks, growing assets, bestowing the future, and much more. A planner helps to bring the varying interests of other financial professionals together, so that you can see the big picture of your financial life – we integrate. We help to create a life journey that you can look back on with fond, enduring and profound memories.