A Dream Is Not A Plan

The end of a process often looks like an event. You will err greatly if you try to manage it that way.

The late, great basketball coach John Wooden asserts that, “I never talk about winning.” Winning, like many other outcomes, is the result of a process and is not a viable product in itself. You cannot manage the outcome, but you can manage the things that tend to get the outcome.

Consider financial independence.  Financial independence is an outcome and seeking financial independence is a process.

Managing the process is possible. For example, addressing risk needs like insurance help to guarantee the process. Learning to be a saver and investor is a big value. Understanding taxation and its limits helps. Discipline matters. Curiousity is a value. Having a time sensitive, priority driven plan provides a template, a way to measure progress and motivation.

The process is easy enough to see.  Establish what financial independence means for you in terms of financial assets. Decide when you need it. Understand the investment market since future income and security will be found there. Think about inflation and taxes. Find the reasonably expected useful rate of return on your money. Calculate the monthly savings that will accumulate to the number you need in the time you want.

Doing it will involve finding some useful tools and possibly helpful advisors. Doing it yourself may be cheaper but it is seldom less expensive. Advisors have a bigger product shelf than you can find on our own and often get better prices than you can. Your skills may add value in other aspects of the plan.  Without a check of some kind, your emotions will get in the way. Smart delegation helps.

At regularly intervals address the 3Rs. Record your results. Review your results in the context of what you expected and what you have achieved.  Review your expectations and time frame. Revise as necessary.

In the simplest terms, a financial plan is merely a reasonable dream with tactics, tools and a time frame attached.  The dream will change a little as time passes and the tools and techniques will become more sophisticated, but it boils down to a single thing. What must I do today to further the achievement of my dream?

Any dream with no current action required is just that, a dream. Unlikely to come about. Real world outcomes depend on how the dream, (strategy) attaches itself to tactics and implementation.

Eventually you will find that success is a decision and like all decisions you must implement in order to see the effect. In the context of physical fitness, Nike has it right.  “Just do it!”

The rule is the same for financial independence.

Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario.  In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.

Please be in touch if I can help you.  don@moneyfyi.com  866-285-7772

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