Updated: Sep 2, 2019
What are you buying with the money you have? Happiness, fulfillment, and well-being probably aren't the answers that come to mind. Time and time again, I hear couples say things like "we don't really know where our money goes" or "we're too busy to worry about our money." And, as life goes on, incomes rise, expenses follow right along, and what increases more—stress or fulfillment?
If you allow life to pull you in every direction without any real purpose, your stress will increase, free time will decrease, and as Greg McKeown says,
"the result is making a millimeter of progress in a million directions."
While if you prioritize what matters in your life, you can "have the satisfying experience of making significant progress in the things that matter most." This is "living by design, not by default."
You can take back control of your life and your money, but you have to have a desire to filter out the noise, focus on what matters to you and your family, and keep progressing in that direction.
At Forward Focus Financial Planning, we do this by defining goals, creating a plan, and taking action.
You choose how you want to spend your time, energy, and money. No matter what your situation, you can evaluate where you are today, where you'd like to be in the future, and take the necessary actions to move you in that direction.
If you want to be motivated to achieve your goals, you have to imagine a compelling destination and craft it into a goal. Whether you want to start a business, retire early, or just spend more time with your family; you have to focus on what truly matters to you.
Your goals should make you more of the person you desire to be, whoever that is. Everyone understands the idea of human potential. Your potential is what you could be if you stopped doing things that you know are dumb and focused on accomplishing compelling goals. So, set SMART goals that motivate you to realize your potential.
You have to remember that money is not the ends, it's only the means. The perpetual progress you make throughout life is the ends, and when used purposefully, money can be a great tool.
Create a Plan
Once you narrow your focus on the most essential things in your life and create specific, measurable, achievable, realistic goals that are connected to a time frame; you can begin to plot your course of action.
When I first had the dream of owning and operating a financial planning firm, I had no idea how to make it happen. But, a seed was planted, and the research began. Eventually, I came up with a plan and over about two and a half years it came to fruition. It went about like this:
Matt's Master Plan for Starting a Financial Planning Firm
Obtain Series 65 license
Enroll in CFP® courses
Complete CFP® education
Pass CFP® exam
Create the business entity
Join the XY Planning Network
Establish business processes
Complete the registration process
Launch the firm
Create a new plan to be successful (in progress)
I laid out this framework almost three years ago and here I am today writing a blog post for my financial planning firm where I help folks create actionable plans so that they can progress towards the life they desire.
And it all started with a plan, but progress is a product of action.
Once you've prioritized your goals and created a plan, execution is all that's left.
George S. Patton said,
"a mediocre plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week."
A perfect plan is unrealistic because we never have perfect information. The action you take towards your goals provides you with new details, thus allowing you to alter your plans in real-time to better achieve your goal.
This is why you should always have a bias towards taking action even if your plan isn't quite perfect. As Jocko Willink would say, you need to be default aggressive. You may make mistakes or missteps along the way, but those are learning moments. No one goes through life without paying the stupid tax every now and again. Shake it off and keep moving forward.
If you are waiting for life to come along and give you the things you desire, you are being left behind. Take responsibility for where you are, where you want to go, and how you are going to get there. Don't look back 15 years from now and think if only I would have started that business or if only I would have invested in my 401(k) or if only I would have saved for Junior's college.
Forward Focus Financial Planning wants to help you communicate and clarify your financial goals so that you can create a plan and take action. Take the first step and schedule a free planning call today. You only get one chance at living a great life. Define your goals, create a plan, take action, and be optimistic.
Disclaimer: All written content on this site is for information purposes only. Opinions expressed herein are solely those of Forward Focus Financial Planning, LLC, unless otherwise specifically cited. Material presented is believed to be from reliable sources and no representations are made by our firm as to another parties’ informational accuracy or completeness. All information or ideas provided should be discussed in detail with an advisor, accountant or legal counsel prior to implementation.