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To Plan or not to Plan, THAT is the Question

 

January 11, 2019



Dear SharonAnn,

I own my own business. I get the importance of planning out my business goals for the coming year. But people talk about life planning, and I get stuck. Why? I mean, my profits pay for my lifestyle. No profits equal no vacation. Profits mean a new car, some money into retirement savings, a trip to Paris. How hard is that?

Signed: Bored by planning

Dear Bored,

So, you spend all of your profits every year? Consider this. What could be possible if you take your dreams and hopes for your future self and put them into a roadmap? What if you don’t? In my work around freedom coaching, I notice that people never regret the time and energy they spend planning. They have more peace of mind, sleep better and celebrate more milestones.

It’s about designing, purposefully designing a life you love, and moving in. Can a plan guarantee a successful and happy life? No, but it can tip the balance in your favor.

Two sisters came to me for planning around the time of retirement. June had saved well over her lifetime, steadily every paycheck, every 401k opportunity, and lived a modest life.

Marge had saved also, had four adult kids, and bought company stock to boost her retirement. Marge’s son lost his job and asked her for financial help. Each semi-annual meeting revealed she’d been supporting him and his family completely for six months. The son was doing nothing to help himself.

Within four years, Marge’s retirement plans were in financial jeopardy. June, in the meantime, was able to remodel her home and pay down her mortgage, travel extensively and volunteer time in South America helping at an orphanage. Does Marge have options? Yes, and planning could open her eyes to more of them than continuing to drain herself.

She loves her son so much that she is enabling his laziness, robbing her other children of financial benefits, and losing her financial safety net for her own future wellbeing. Some people can stare at the facts and be willfully blind, despite a written plan. Do not be willfully blind! Her sister, June, was the wise one.

The complicated facets of our lives, in addition to our business/work, suggest there are enormous benefits to planning. The Council for Women chimes in with these tips:

• Our banker says, "People who save a percentage of their income regularly, become wealthy over time."

• Our CPA says, “Planning for taxes before the year ends can save you thousands."

• Our insurance broker says, “Anticipating health requirements for the coming year will get you better care for your dollars."

• Our mortgage broker says, “Preparing for the largest transaction in your life, buying a home, can get your home quicker with less stress."

• Our real estate agent says, “Strategizing in advance for buying or selling achieves faster results."

• Our attorney says, “You avoid stress and save money by proper business and estate planning."

• Our financial advisor says, “You may run out of money before you run out of time when you fail to plan."

Boring? Au contraire. Planning is one of the most exciting activities in life. You get to unleash your inner wonder woman. You get to make your dreams come true. Planning helps you fix your mind on your life purpose and find the shortest road to success.

Putting a plan in writing keeps you focused. Designing your life for the year ahead makes you the pilot of your own ship. One of my heroes, Dr. Seuss, said it very well. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go…”

Planning works. Even my car reflects my philosophy. The license plate says MAKAPLN.

SharonAnn Hamilton, MBA, CFP®, MSFS is founder of Freedom Quest Academy, fiduciary, consultant, coach, and author. She facilitates The Council for Women, a faith-based group of women professionals whose mission is education for empowering women who want to be in charge of their inheritance, estate, and retirement. Want more info? Write to: info@councilforwomen.org or check out www.CouncilForWomen.org.

 

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