August 17, 2018

This is a Terrible Time to Make a Plan

Imagine saying, “Honey!! Kids!! Go pack your suitcase and meet me at the car in 15 minutes!”

Wait for it…..wait for it….annnnnnndddd here come the questions:  “Where are we going?  What kind of clothes should we pack?  How long will we be gone?  And on and on and on …

There is certainly excitement in the air (assuming you don’t have teenagers of course!!) but there is also a level of confusion, maybe even concern.

Imagine loading up your car with the luggage, the family and some snacks and drinks.  You put the car in reverse and back out of the garage and start to head down the driveway.  You turn to your spouse and say something to the effect of “Where do you want to go?”

After the head tilt, eye squint and look of confusion, you get some version of the phrase, “Wait…you don’t know where we’re going?  I thought you had some sort of plan.”

I get being spontaneous and adventurous and there is a time and place for that.  But in general, this is a terrible time to make a plan.

Why is that?  Well, for starters, how do you know if everyone packed the right clothes, or enough clothes?  Do you have enough gas in the car to get you where you want to go?  Does anyone else in the car have commitments or other needs that need to be factored in?

Shifting gears, imagine you are at the “family and close friends” gathering after the funeral of the family patriarch.  After everyone makes it through the line and starts eyeballing the dessert table, a discussion pops up at one table about what is going to become of the family farm, the gun collection, and the autographed Babe Ruth baseball.

Upon discovering that gramps left no will or instructions, opinions start to fly and things get a little heated.  Next thing you know, someone gets up and storms out, but not before grabbing a to-go plate of potato salad and a couple of rolls.  “Hey…”, they are thinking to themselves, “I might not get the baseball, but I’ll be damned if they are keeping all the potato salad too!!”

This also is a terrible time to make a plan.

When it comes to retirement, or estate planning, or business planning or just plain old general financial planning, if you want to increase your odds of a positive outcome, there is only one time to make a plan.  And that time is NOW!

Here I will state the obvious, but if it gets even one person to overcome inertia and start to plan, it’s worth it:  It’s too late to make your plan yesterday.  You are not promised the sun is coming up to make a plan tomorrow.  Today is all you’ve got.

More than likely, you are not on this journey alone.  You may or may not be married, have kids, have business partners, care for elderly parents or a special needs child.  You may be younger, older, or somewhere in between.  You may have everything you think you need and you may know that you really don’t. You may have variables in your life that no one else you know has in theirs.

That’s all to say, there are either people or circumstances that are unique to you which require some sort of advanced planning that is personal to you and considerate of them.  So if you can’t motivate yourself to draw a line in the sand today and make a plan for whatever your definition of success or financial confidence or peace of mind is, try reframing it around doing it for them.

There will be a time when it’s a terrible time to make a plan.  But today, right now, is the perfect time. 

And instead of starting with “how” you will do this, start with “who”.  Who can help you overcome the procrastination of “how”?

When it comes to financial matters,if we can be your “who”, you know where to find us.