Something to Sink Your Teeth Into

Circle the letters in the list below that best describe the financial planning process for you (please select as many as are appropriate).

  1. More time: Sailing, fishing, swimming, hiking, biking, walking, running, scuba diving, mentoring, tinkering, painting, crafting, cooking, gardening, stamp collecting, reading, writing, enjoying family, beekeeping, yoga-ing, road rallying, touring,
  2. Longer, more exotic, unusual vacations to far off places or just a couple of states over,
  3. Leaving a financial legacy for your children, church, school, or ministry or charity,
  4. Opportunity to start a business, a foundation, a ministry, a clinic, second career,
  5. Less worry, anxiety, and time spent doing unimportant or even destructive things,
  6. Endless discussions around stocks, bonds, taxes, risk, savings, social security, spreadsheets, mortgages, market valuations and government largesse.

Financial planning for many is like going to the dentist. The experience is altogether low on the enjoyment scale. But how often do we consider what would be the outcome of not going: a life of gumming oatmeal, tofu, soups, and gelatin. What if instead of dwelling only on the sore jaw, the scraping, picking, grinding, and answering questions with five pounds of tools in our mouths we gave a little thought to the why we go? What if we remembered how nice it is to bite into a ripe red apple, a handful of pecans, a bagel, or a bowl of rocky road ice cream?

We are so very busy with and absorbed in the here-and-now, that we simply don’t take or make the time to consider the consequences of inaction or how much better things could be if we actually engaged in a process of making them better. A big part of the reason we don’t is that we are not currently aware of the consequences of inaction or of missed opportunities. Cavities start small and can destroy much of a tooth long before we are alerted by any pain.

Along the same lines, as you read this Brief, there are likely oversights, risks, or mistakes in your financial plan just waiting to destroy wealth and hurt you one day if not addressed. There also may be significant inefficiencies in your investment processes miss opportunities and destroy lifestyle. Only by proactively naming your goals, setting the objectives, can you devise plans to ensure they happen.

Yes some painful discussions around assets, risks, and spreadsheets are important in the process, but they shouldn’t be the centerpiece of the process. The goals, the joy of talking about them, the elation of finding new and improved ways of accomplishing them, the reward of working toward them, these should define the best financial planning process.

If you circled only 6 you’re missing the best of true goals-centered financial planning. Through everything we do, we want to improve your experience in financial planning, and in so doing, make your life the very best it can be. If 1-5 represent what we want in this life, why not spend our time talking about these things and ensuring they can happen?