“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” sounds like an excuse not to make a plan, especially when we can now obtain a FasTrak toll tag before setting out on a trip. Before bridges we had to go with the flow of a river or a canal to connect events in our lives. Our roads and railroads need bridges. Bridges can make an island part of a city. Bridges are both connections and hindrances. Bridges are indispensable to travel and a challenge at rush hours. There are other “bridges” in our lives: getting through college, marriage, making a home, changing careers, reaching retirement, and leaving this world for whatever comes next. There are no FasTrak toll tags for these bridges, other than inviting someone who knows a lot about bridges to help us with our plans to get through them… and to pay the tolls along the way. An experienced financial planner can brighten prospects and smooth the journey.
If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you have arrived? The trip could be over when you run out of fuel… or when your money runs out. It might last longer and be more fun if you were to do more planning before you leave. There are basic questions: what to pack, what kind of food is available, can you speak the language, what help is available if something goes wrong. What if you make your trip last a lifetime? It would be smart to talk with someone who has been there and done that, don’t you think? In any event, all best wishes for a safe and fulfilling journey, especially if safe and fulfilling are your goals.
PS: We’re talking about your life here… engage a wise financial advisor and the sky’s the limit.
Whatever you aspire to is happening beyond the hills. Pretend you are the bird and are looking at the other side; describe what you see yourself doing there, to include family, career, home, and recreation. The river can carry you most of the way to this ideal place: what do you need before you can start? What do you need to take with you? What do you need along the way? How long will it take to reach the hills? The hills represent a few major obstacles that keep you from completing your trip: describe the obstacles and then describe how you intend to get past them.
Locate a pen and paper for taking notes as you build your map. Jot down items or questions that come to mind as you re-read the text above, then go back and fill in a few details for each item or question. If it becomes a fun project, go back yet again and fill in a third level of details. If you are excited by the challenge, decide if you could use some help planning the trip; if so, you will have a map to share with someone you trust.
<p”>“That which we manifest is before us; we are the creators of our own destiny. Be it through intention or ignorance, our successes and our failures have been brought on by none other than ourselves.” – Garth Stein, from “The Art of Racing in the Rain” (Harper, 2008).
A spinout on a rainy track ended the author’s racing days and prompted his reflection that in a race, the car usually goes where the driver’s eyes and mind are focused. Especially true when it is raining on the track, and an apt observation to remember when bad things happen around us.
When bad things happen with the weather, or to the stock market, or even in the global economy, we tend to lose our focus. At such times in our lives, it helps to be able to talk with someone who can keep us on track: a friend, a coach, a mentor, an advisor.
When the track gets slippery, seasoned financial advisors can and do prepare their clients to anticipate panic and to avoid making financial mistakes. The task is to regain focus. The goal here, as in everything we care about, is to drive and to finish well.
Douglas M. Roesser, CFP™
This is the Chinese character kuan. Kuan is all about what one does with money but it is also used to express other meanings—like “entertain,” “signature,” and “commit.” The “money” and “commit” connection within kuan grows more meaningful to financial advisors who have spent years working with their clients.
Making more money is not the only reason to seek help from a financial advisor: not losing money is equally important… but shaping a fulfilling life is most important. All three pursuits are intertwined; the best prospects for success start from a willingness to commit to a vision of a fulfilling lifestyle and to a plan for achieving it.
The financial planning process starts there, with the commitment, the vision and the plan. What one might do with money comes next.
Many of us believe we shall begin to live well when we are rich and retired; the real trick is to begin to live well now. Wealth can definitely enhance a chosen lifestyle but the choice and its plan come first.
“Commit,” then “money.” Kuan.
Probably because the rear view mirror in our car looks straight back, we tend to adjust the left and right side mirrors to look straight back too. The side mirrors can be even more useful if we re-adjust them to keep a passing vehicle in the side mirror until we pick it up with our own eyes.
With the side mirrors readjusted, we enjoy something close to a 180 degree sweep of the traffic behind and beside us. Those small adjustments make a big difference.
Financial planners can add the peripheral view to your wealth vision by suggesting small adjustments that can make a big difference. Better still, financial planners look ahead.
For example: a bachelor’s accountant told him he needed to buy a house to generate a mortgage interest deduction. The bachelor could not afford to buy a home near his office so he did not follow his accountant’s advice. A financial planner determined that the bachelor’s widowed mother owned the family home outright and was willing to sell it to her son by carrying a mortgage for the full fair market value.
She enjoyed the income; he enjoyed the interest deduction.