What Must Be True For A Plan To Work?

In developing a plan to attach financial parameters to your life plan, at some point you must begin a success algorithm.  

A process that studies your wishes and resources and then asks a simple question. What must be true for this to play out as I wish?  How long must I live?  How long must I work?  How much must I save?  What yield must I have?

Fair answers to this question will lead to a better process.   Find conflicts,  discover tactics, assess risks, learn about yourself,  learn about your family.   Maybe even find the must “must have.”   Like staying alive and well for x years.

All assumptions are just that.  Assumptions.  Just because they fit does not mean they will occur.  Assessing which of them “must” happen if the plan is to happen, is a crucial step.

Once the must happen parts are organized, insured, eliminated from the list or accepted as risk, move to the next step of dealing with them and the other conditions.

Introduce reality.  Find some tactics that can address the plan.  If there are many choices for a particular step, then choose.  If no tactic appears or the ones there are unavailable to you, then refine and revise that aspect of the plan to eliminate the need to deal with it.

Put the first iteration of the plan into action.  Notice areas that are not smooth or when exposed to reality, behave differently. Modify a little and let it run for long enough to learn from its shortcomings.  This observe – reassess – perfect process, will remain for all time.  Be sure it is built in.

The observe – reassess – perfect process is the “I have seen this happen, what now?” part.  You must pay attention or you may miss it.

As you go along you will find that there are parts of you that heretofore have been obscure.  How much risk is okay for me?  How much margin for error do I need?  How much time can I spend on this?  Does my spouse have the same guidelines?  Do I change as I grow older?  Am I able to adapt easily?

Find the tools that can overcome some of your shortcomings and find some that can productively assist you in reaching your goals.  Personal attributes that make plans work in the long run are objectivity, time, liquidity, support, optimism, options and decisiveness.

Planning is not especially difficult, but it is detailed for a while.  Sometimes people find it works best if they think of it as a giant experiment to learn about themselves, their world and the financial part of it.  The experiment approach works because people in this mode do not get the idea that their work here is done.

No plan, regardless of its beauty and elegance will work and so no plan is ever finished.  Success is evolutionary and follows the questioning of two aspect.  What must work? and after something does not work, What now?


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Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario. Contact: don@moneyfyi.com

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