Why Planning Is Never Finished

If you go to a financial planner and they tell you here is the plan, are you done? Hardly.

No plan is complete and settled. A “settled plan” is like “settled science.” It is a bare-faced lie or an expression of hope from a very naive person. Neither is ever true because there are never enough variables considered, and the future will play out differently than you anticipate today. New information can destroy old certainties.

All working plans evolve

Good plans are directionally accurate. They are not precise, but there are general principles that show through even when the steps employed have strayed from the original path.

Think about it the way you raise a child or start a business. You have a very general idea of the end result and a list of things necessary. As time passes, the steps you thought necessary sometimes turn out to be unneeded or even counter-productive. When you look back, the only thing that remains of your original plan is the idea of making it work, whatever it takes. For those with more than one child, you will notice that they are not all the same. What works for one is poison for another.

The late Peterborough artist David Bierk had eight children. The first four are Sebastian – lead singer for Skid Row; Zac – goalie for the Tampa Bay Lightning and currently goalie coach for the Ottawa Senators; Dylan – an actress and model; and Alex – an artist who recently ran for a seat on Peterborough city council. David was a person who taught work hard and expand yourself.. That direction is clear, but I doubt he had any of those careers in mind when a child was born.

Life plans must be fluid

Times change, abilities change, and interests often develop in strange directions. The idea is to optimize your circumstances, given what is happening and hold true to the direction.

If you think of a plan as the result if you follow the path, you will find the path disappears long before completion. Instead of building a 25-year flow chart, focus on the direction and adapt to circumstances as they appear. The skill you need is to notice what’s going on and how they support the objective or how they must be overcome.

Vincent Van Gogh offers guidance.

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together”

You have to bring them together in the future, not as a fait accompli in the beginning.

I build strategic, fact-based estate and income plans. The plans identify alternate and effective ways to achieve spending and estate distribution goals.

Be in touch at 705-927-4770 or by email at don.shaughnessy@gmail.com.

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