Don’t Leave Your Future to Chance


I recently received a phone call from a new physician who wanted me to invest his money, but had no interest in financial planning or discussing his goals. He was making a nice income and wanted to see his money grow immediately, but thought the planning was something he would hold off on until later.

In situations where the result of an action isn’t immediately felt, individuals are less likely to be proactive. I’ve seen this occur in financial planning for years. Young physicians might be tempted to spend money on vacations and vehicles because they are starting to have a nice cash flow. They might continue spending on things like nice homes and luxuries, and even though they maintain a healthy income, they’re spending almost everything they make to keep up with their lifestyle. Then, overnight, their babies turn into teenagers getting ready for college and they haven’t planned on how to cover tuition. Others forgo making contributions to their 401(k) plan because they feel they’re doing just fine and then reach retirement with barely enough funds to cover ten years without income.

Every day, people are choosing to put off financial planning for someday by choosing more immediate satisfaction today. Why are we more concerned with satisfying our current desires at the sacrifice of our future?

We live in a “we want it now” society. It has become too easy to put off things we can’t see or visualize, such as putting off financial planning for when we’re older or worrying about retirement when it’s closer. Only when a deadline hits are people left wishing they had planned in advance all those years ago. By understanding our avoidance to planning and recognizing the future value of our current actions, we can overcome the need for immediate satisfaction and avoid getting caught in sticky situations.

What if your financial plan factored in items that could help make you happier today? This could come in the form of planning charitable giving so you can help others with your fortune, reaching financial goals so you don’t feel the burden for financing your child’s college or wedding, having a vacation investment fund so that you can spend money on experiences that come with lasting memories, or buying yourself more time by hiring an assistant or moving closer to work to reduce your commute. Remember, a financial plan is fluid and evolves as your goals, needs, and desires change over time. The important part of a plan is making sure it’s working to meet those goals so you enjoy your life along the way.

As life gets busier and more complicated, having a financial plan can be your solid foundation for keeping an eye on your goals, and is essential to building and maintaining a satisfying lifestyle throughout life. Without determining a destination and having a plan to reach it, chances are you will end up far from where you desire. If you don’t have a plan, consider starting the process today or work with an advisor who can help you maintain your overall financial roadmap.

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