Why are you investing? What do you want?
When I was 12 years old my Dad taught me a very important life lesson while he was teaching me how to mow the lawn. "Keep your eyes locked on where you want to end up and that's where you'll go." he said. And while he was teaching me how to make nice straight lines as I mowed the lawn the lesson translates to many other areas of life.
So where do you want to end up?
When I first started Course Pilot Financial I was really surprised by how many new clients would shrug their shoulders and say something like "I don't know, I haven't really thought much about retirement" during our first meeting. Retirement is a big deal! It's likely the single biggest financial goal category you have and yet my experience shows that many people are just meandering toward it with very little vision or passion about the life they will have during the 20 to 30 years they will live after work.
Most people have a general idea of when they would like to retire (usually 65ish) but beyond that it gets cloudy real quick. Having a clear vision of what you want is incredibly important to your investment plan. How can we know if you are on the right track if we have no idea what you are aiming for?
Asking the right questions.
When do you want to retire is only the beginning. Let's explore that in a little more depth:
- What type of lifestyle would you like to live in retirement?
- Where would you like to live?
- Are you planning to travel a lot? Where would you like to go?
- Are you going to buy a sports car? How about a boat?
- Will you be more active with your charitable endeavors?
- What about the grandkids?
Can you see how the answers to questions like these might help us paint a better picture and construct a better plan?
Develop your vision and focus
Every year I go to the Newport Boat Show with my family. I love boating and look forward to the day when our kids are old enough for sailing. So, even though I am not in the market for a boat yet, and won't be for another few years, I find going to the boat show helps me keep my dream at the top of my mind.
It's one thing to dream about "someday owning a boat" and another to go out and experience it. Doing so allows you to gain a deeper insight into why you want the things you want or experiences you want to have. You can research how much things cost, what options are available and put a plan together for achieving it.
Sure, our job as your advisory firm is to manage your assets and offer you relevant guidance but you play a big part too. It's your vision, your passion and your desire to experience life to the fullest that drives everything we do. That's not just marketing speak, that's a fundamental truth.
Stay on target.
Unlike mowing the lawn, life is not a straight line. As we have seen over the past decade markets can be extremely volatile. You yourself have most likely changed over the past 10 years as well. Can you think of things that interest you now that weren't even on your radar years ago?
Every review I have with a client starts the same way "Here is the likelihood that you will successfully achieve the goals stated in your plan. Are these still your most important goals?" There may be several quarters in a row where nothing changes but by keeping your goals front and center we can make sure we don't stray too far off target.
How do you stay on target? Have you developed techniques for making sure your plan reflects what you value most?