What a great time to plan for your future. As we say good-bye (thankfully) to 2020 and usher in 2021, it’s time to initiate steps to fully own your future.
The alternative is you can let inertia and the status quo prevail. Do nothing and that’s what you get.
Owning your future starts with becoming intimately familiar with your current reality. That is, the unvarnished version that accurately reflects both where you are financially and where you’re heading.
If you’re honest in this exercise you may discover gaps between your resources and aspirations. That is, you probably have a mis-match between your money and your goals.
Priorities and Planning
One of the foundational purposes of financial planning is to help clients set priorities and make trade-offs. Another major role that the reality-based planning process plays is to introduce the idea of “broadly right, instead of precisely wrong.”
We crave precision and certainty, but these two conditions have little to do with reality. You can’t truly own your future until you let loose of these and realize uncertainty is the reality. The future is unknowable and can’t be precisely engineered.
The Behavior Gap
For many individuals, there’s also a mis-match between what they say is important and their actual money behavior. One of my mentors used to say “connect mouth with movement.” This “behavior gap” is perhaps the single most damaging breach within financial planning.
Another hugely important aspect of taking ownership of your future is to comprehend “enough.” I know, “enough” sounds so bland and unexciting. However, as a lifelong student of economics I can tell you pushing to the max where there never is “enough” creates huge issues.
The central financial planning problem often is comparison with your friends, neighbors, and colleagues. You surmise, (probably incorrectly), that their financial situation mirrors your own yet they have a vacation home, all their kids attend expensive private schools and they generally seem to possess “wealth.”
I can tell you from experience that the facade of wealth is much easier to build than true wealth. Your situation likely differs materially from your friends or neighbors. Moreover, the financial game they are playing isn’t the same game you are playing. It’s like football and hockey. Different rules, different strategies. Stop comparing!
Resolve to make 2021 a year of financial reality. Don’t fret about the myriad of things you can’t control. Instead, pay close attention to the one thing you can control, how much you save. That lets you own your future. Start there.