The New Year Resolution...
The New Year resolution is upon us. Each year we sit down and evaluate our past and strive to work harder to accomplish our goals in the coming year. We’ve all said that this is going to be the year that we stick to a diet, lose some weight, stop a bad habit, save more money, spend less, get out of debt, spend more time with the family, get closer to God, and on, and on the list can go. Research shows us that one successful way of sticking to our resolutions is by being held accountable. Many men I know have accountability “buddies” for their devotional walk with God, and their commitment to physical health. Having someone who will kick you in the figurative pants to get you to do what you say you will do, even if you don’t want to do it. It’s hard to find the time to go to the gym every day, but having someone there to force and motivate you to go makes it a little bit easier.
So, for the resolutions of wanting to save more, spend less, invest more wisely, protect yourself and your family from financial risks, what better way to be held accountable than to work with a financial planner who can help you to know how much you need to save to reach your goals, where you can spend less, how to invest to lessen the impact of a coming market downturn, how much and what kinds of insurance you may need (or not need); all the while keeping you accountable to get those things done so you can feel safe and secure in your finances.
For this New Year, I encourage each of you to decide what it is that you want your future to look like. Do you see a strong retirement where you and your spouse are living comfortably in a nice home with children and grandchildren all around? Do you see an adventurous retirement filled with vacations to wonderful locals and sipping Champaign onboard a luxury cruise ship? You can envision your future as being better than your present, but do you know how is best to get there? Imagine you are in a foreign land and you need to travel from your current location to a distant city. The map you are given simply shows the outline of the country you are in and city points. There are no roads listed, no terrain markings to show you where to find the valleys, hills, and mountains. No markings of forests, plains, or deserts; no key or legend to signify how far you are from your destination. The only other marking you see is a compass rose pointing north. With such a map, it is possible to reach your destination, however, you will not be well suited for the journey ahead given that you don’t know what to expect. You may be leaving from a city full with everything you need – food, water, clothing, etc. and you may reasonably expect that that is what you will have at the end of your trip, but what happens when you cross the barren wasteland in between? Had you know there was an inhospitable area on the trip; you could have planned for it. You might bring along extra food and water to ensure your survival through that region.
So, you’ve come to a desert and don’t have enough food or water to get across? This is like losing your job with little or no savings. A financial planner can help you to understand the need for an emergency fund long before you reach that desert. You’ve successfully climbed a craggy mountain, but on the way down you lost your rucksack with all your supplies. That might be like losing your spouse untimely, and without having the proper coverage to see to it that you make the remainder of your journey. Have you come to a fork in the road and the nice man you met gave you some advice on which way to go? To the left is a route full of wild berries, clean water, and flat land to walk and sleep on. To the right is poor weather, fewer resources, and the land is bumpy, rutted, and covered in rocks. He failed to tell you that the easy route doesn’t get you directly where you want to go. When saving for a goal like retirement, we all have a tendency to want to go the easy way – for many of us that means we are flying on a wing and a prayer, but by foregoing some of the ease of the moment and keeping our goal in mind, we can reach the destination quicker and more directly.
Having a financial planner is like having a Sherpa on your unknown journey. We may not be able to tell you exactly where the desert is on the map, but we’ve gained enough experience and knowledge to know that we will cross a desert on our journey, so pack accordingly.
Why not make 2016 the year that you decide to stop wandering through the wilderness with a vague map and find someone who can instruct you on the journey you are likely to encounter. Don’t feel as though you have to take on troubles only as they arise, but know that there is a better way to plan for the consequences that life is likely to throw at you. On top of it all, a financial planner will help to hold you accountable so that as you travel along your journey known as life, there is someone there to tell you to get things done or risk the consequences of inaction. The ultimate point is that having a financial planner to help you to reach your life goals makes much more sense than trying to overcome the inevitable obstacles as they arise by doing what most people do and bury their heads in the sand.
So go ahead, contact me today and book an appointment so we can strategize over all the provisions and equipment you may need so that you and your family may certainly reach your journey's end. I’ll also be the one prodding you along the way to stay on track to the goals you set out for yourself.
Have a happy and prosperous 2016!