Financial Planning & Money Management
The Bridge to Realizing your Hopes and Dreams
Do you have hopes, dreams & goals? Most people do, it makes us feel good and excited for the future. Something to look forward to and share with others. It could be that special trip you want to take, the sports car you have always dreamed about, seeing your kids go off to college, or even that distant thing called retirement that we all hear about. All great things to look forward to!
The problem: Most people fail to plan for their hopes, dreams, and goals.
I want to get to the other side, but how do I get there?
What do I mean by this? Well, over the course of 5000+ client meetings I have noticed that most people love thinking about the future, hopefully someday achieving and doing all the things they have thought about for years. This is actually a really fun part of what I do, people share with me what is really important to them, what drives them, and what they want for the future. Yet, most people fail to plan on how they are going to make this future a reality. The key words being ‘fail to plan’.
It is understandable why people fail to plan. Perhaps you are just finishing school and figuring out what the next step is going to be. Maybe you are considering starting your own business, or are in the middle of it and don’t know which way is up. Or you are expecting your first, second, third, etc. child and have no idea what to expect! Life gets busy!
The point I am trying to make is that I don’t think anyone sets out to not realize their hopes, dreams & goals, but that life gets in the way, making it easy to lose sight and focus on what we want and more importantly how we are going to get it.
The solution: Build a bridge to realize your hopes, dreams & goals.
Build a strong bridge.
The good thing is that there is a ‘bridge’ almost anyone can build to help them realize their hopes, dreams, and goals. What is this ‘bridge”? It is a Financial Plan. Sounds simple doesn’t it? It is, but that doesn’t mean it won’t require some work.
What is a Financial Plan? Well, according to the Wikipedia definition, “a Financial Plan is a comprehensive evaluation of an individual's current pay and future financial state…” It takes into account a variety of variables to help predict the future which are used to help formulate a plan. Although this definition is a bit ‘textbook” it makes sense in that it is ‘comprehensive’ and focuses on ‘current’ and ‘future’ states of a person’s situation.
More simply put, I define a Financial Plan as a Bridge. Imagine yourself standing on one side of a canyon, valley, river, etc. You know you want to get to the other side (this is where your hopes, dreams & goals are) but unless you have a bridge to get there you are essentially stuck. So what have humans been doing for thousands of years, we have built bridges to get where we want to be.
Hopes and Dreams: Building the Bridge
Well, yes, but ‘building’ the bridge is the part that takes a bit of work. It is the same with building a Financial Plan. You will have to crystallize what your hopes, dreams, and goals are. This is not as easy as one may think. I encourage my clients to really think this through. What is truly important to them? What do they want out of life? Actually defining what your hopes, dreams & goals are is very empowering, liberating, and exciting. It is the first step in building your bridge.
Once you have figured this part out, building the Financial Plan is actually rather easy and straight forward. Make sure you find a professional that you are comfortable sharing your hopes, dreams & goals with. You will know you are working with the right person if they start the professional relationship by asking questions related to your hopes, dreams & goals. If you can connect with them on this level, then it makes sense to go a step further to make sure they are qualified to help you build the most important bridge you may ever cross.
What do I mean when I say ‘qualified’? Well, ask them what professional designations they have. For example, professionals with the CFP ® designation are held to one of the highest standards in the industry and have demonstrated a high level of ethics and planning capabilities. You can check to see if they have this certification on the CFP® Lets Make A Plan website. You will also want to make sure there are no complaints or judgements filed against them, which you can research on the FINRA BrokerCheck website. Once the professional has passed muster and your gut has given the OK, then you can proceed by going through their planning process. This process is “building your bridge”.
Financial Planning, where do I start?
Start by defining your hopes, dreams & goals. Then, and only then, can you start building your bridge. There are a lot of qualified ‘bridge builders’ (financial planners) out there, find the one that best understands the importance and leverage of building your bridge, then get to work!
The process of identifying and building your bridge should be fun, but pragmatic. Building the bridge is no guarantee that everything will turn out the way you want it to, but it will greatly improve your odds for success! You will learn a lot about yourself and will be better positioned to achieve all that you want from life. Happy bridge building!
Would love to hear your thoughts!