Imagine a flight from Toronto to Paris. The route is strategically planned and the plane aimed in the precise direction. During the journey, however, weather or other factors can frequently push the plane slightly off course. Even a misalignment of one degree can cause the plane to miss Paris entirely. As a result the pilot regularly needs to make many small adjustments along the way.
The same principle applies with financial planning. It’s never a one-time activity, even if your goals stay the same. As crucial as planning is, implementation and readjustment is just as important.
Few people have tangible financial goals that are linked to what is important to them and their families. Fewer yet have a comprehensive plan that maps out how to achieve these goals. Even after a plan is created, people struggle to fully follow through on the required tasks. This is where I come in.
When we do financial plans for clients, we not only have a document to track their progress, we also use a financial roadmap to ensure important documents are updated on a regular basis. These include clients’ financial plan, risk tolerance, wills and powers of attorney and others.
Anything from net worth, health, family situation, taxes and life goals can and usually will change. If you’re running off of old facts, you may not reach the destination you originally targeted.
A friend of mine has been a successful entrepreneur for years. Whenever we get together, he always shares his wealth of experience and I leave feeling inspired by his passion and drive. I recently asked him, “What is the difference between the average entrepreneur and those that are wildly successful?”
Expecting him to say something like tenacity or work ethic, his answer surprised me. He paused and said, “Attention to detail. In business there are so many things that can go wrong that those who care and obsess on the details usually beat out those that don’t.”
Luckily I come from a family where details were always important. My father ran two successful construction firms, and my mother not only helped him in this endeavor, but I can’t remember a single time she forgot to do something. This high standard rubbed off on the three of us children, as we were constantly reminded to not let anything fall through the cracks.
As you can imagine, paying attention to detail is very important when managing your financial affairs. We obsess over our clients’ details. Having a plan and a roadmap gives our clients the confidence to know that their financial lives are well taken care of. They can then concentrate on what’s most important in their lives, like family, friends, passions and careers.
In my next post, the last in the series, I’ll discuss what you should do if the previous strategies still don’t work when you try them on your own.