Planner, non-planner, or planning to plan?
Updated: May 30
How do you feel about plans in general? Do they stress you out? Or are you the type of person who finds plans to be relaxing even reassuring?
At some point in our lives, we intersect with the inevitability of plans. Whether we like them or not they are part of life. Most things require at least to some extent a loose array of order, a plan.
When it comes to our financial lives though, planning is often overlooked, undervalued, or ignored. According to statistics gathered by Schwab's 2021 Modern Wealth Survey "only 33% of Americans have a written financial plan."-https://www.schwab.com/learn/story/5-ways-financial-planning-can-help
Research indicates that written goals increase the odd of success. In 2018 an article in Forbes said this: "Vividly describing your goals in written form is strongly associated with goal success, and people who very vividly describe or picture their goals are anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish their goals"-https://www.forbes.com/sites/markmurphy/2018/04/15/neuroscience-explains-why-you-need-to-write-down-your-goals-if-you-actually-want-to-achieve-them/?sh=3e69f53b7905
It makes sense. You have something you want to accomplish; you write it out and chances are you will make it happen. We write down itineraries for trips, grocery lists, errands, and many other thingss. It would seem very probable that significantly more than 33% of us make plans for the mundane but forgo written plans for things that carry huge consequences. Could this have to do with the fact that a financial plan makes us take a hard look at life? It is easy to plan for something fun, but thinking about savings, student debt, investing or estate planning involves much more.
So, should you have a financial plan? Think about that question the next time you make a written plan for grocery shopping. As you jot down the list of things you need-eggs, milk, shampoo etc. remember why you made the list in the first place. You made it because you didn't want to forget something. Then you would be inconvenienced and must go back to the store or just go without. Therein lies the reason we all need a written financial plan.
Not everyone needs the same kind of plan. Some of us need a plan to save, to get out of debt, others need help with complicated tax matters or investments. Whether you are a planner, or not make the time to have a plan. Make sure you don't just talk about a plan. That is just planning to plan. As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”