This past summer I had the absolute joy to go on a wilderness canoe trip. When you take this type of vacation, planning is crucial because you have to be able to carry everything you need with you. As you portage uphill and downhill you don’t want to be lugging more than you need. What occurred to me was just how little I really need and how many of the luxuries I enjoy at home are actually that – luxuries. I found I needed shelter (my tent), food and water (my awesome friends can catch fish and we carried in the rest) and I needed the canoe to get myself around. That’s it! Good friends, tasty meals were a great bonus!
Kim Lyons talks about lightening her load as she traveled the Camino de la Plata in the following interview.
In an increasingly complex world, one of the requests I most frequently hear from people as I complete financial plans for them is a desire for simplicity.
One reason to strive for simplicity is to be able to evaluate your progress. Some people I meet have so many moving parts in their planning that it becomes a formidable job just to know if you are making progress. Some people feel it needs to be complicated and they worry about “doing it right”. Let me tell you some good news! There isn’t just one right way to do things; there is a way that’s right for you! Just as there is more than one path to any destination – there is more than one way to accomplish your goals. When you take a road trip, you might prefer to take the scenic route and someone else might prefer the highway. You will both make it to the same place in your own preferred way. Financial goals are like that too. Don’t feel you are doing it wrong if you aren’t doing it the same way as someone else. Develop your own plan.
Step One: Know what money means to you. When we are very clear about what is important to us – it’s easier to say “no” to some distractions that might lead us off track. We know the advertising industry would like to tell you how to spend your spend your money. When you have true clarity about what you want to accomplish, your decisions become easier. You can evaluate each decision in light of your priorities.
Step Two: Think ahead. With planning you can make decisions ahead of time so that when you reach a crossroads you have already decided what you will do. This gives you time to think things through so you can be comfortable with the decision. It’s a matter of considering “What if?” scenarios. You can be extremely confident in decisions not made in the heat of the moment. I find the most confident decisions have been made long before you get into a situation where the decision is forced upon you.
Step Three: Write it down. A written plan allows you to see where you are going and where you have been. The goal in the future keeps you motivated: the past lets you see that you are making progress. A written plan makes it easy to see when you have gone off course and what you need to do to get yourself back on track. For more reading: Have You Filed Your Flight Plan?
Step Four: Seek the help of a financial planner. These steps are most easily carried out with the help of a financial planner. Remember, the planner has helped hundreds of people create their plans. Conversation brings clarity to your priorities and your unique path.