Marketing geniuses would have you believe that there is magic in retirement if you just stay on the green line. Or that all you have to do is figure out what your number is. If it’s so out of reach it might as well be a $Gazillion. Then you could just randomly throw money at it and HOPE for the best. Or worse, you take your eye off the ball and it all comes crashing down. As if…
These vivid images make for great commercials. They aggravate me on one hand because they make it all seem so simple and on the other hand I will admit there is a tad bit of genius there. They do help promote the need for financial planning. I’m guessing you don’t want to be that guy or gal who just randomly throws money at your imaginary number. So what is your strategy? You have heard me say it before… Hope is not a strategy.
The reality is that the only magic is in the dreaded “D” word. That word is discipline. Few people have it. That is where working with a trusted advisor; a true financial planner can help. You need a financial advocate who isn’t afraid to tell you what you need to hear not what you want to hear. Planning requires long-term forecasting, short-term measurement and management of progress and changes. It’s the management of these numbers and the implementation of the savings strategies that most people need help with.
Goal planning is a process not a one-time event. It requires ongoing monitoring, tweaking and adjusting as life happens. It requires a discipline. A discipline that stays focused on the ball; a ball that is constantly shifting, taking wrong turns and sometimes even slowing to a standstill. At least that has been my experience and that of my clients. A good advisor will have a process that involves revisiting your goals consistently, certainly annually if not quarterly.
I have a disciplined discovery process that I use faithfully with clients. Before making any recommendations I explore your current situation, your feelings about money, your future goals and objectives, work and career plans and family dynamics to understand where you are and where you want to go. From there I identify planning gaps and risks and together we develop a strategy to get you where you want to go. We meet regularly and through our conversations I am able to re-discover what has changed in your life and your financial world. When we work together this way, that’s when the actual magic happens.
When that ball rolls off-course will you have the discipline to get it moving again? Will you know what the right direction is? If you are thinking of making a change NOW is the best time to get started.