Financial planning is all about creating a path to reach your goals. Whether you’re looking to retire, travel, buy a home, or launch a second career, having a financial plan gives you a path to make it happen. Unfortunately, the plans you make to reach your goals don’t always align with the reality of the market or changes in your financial situation.
Maybe you’ve been investing in the stock market to build up a down payment for a house only to see your money vanish in recent months. Or perhaps you got laid off a few years before you were planning to retire. Maybe you wanted to move to a warmer climate to retire, but nothing is affordable in the current housing market.
It’s easy to feel frustrated when something disrupts your financial plans. It can be tempting to give up or settle for something different than what you truly want. But that doesn’t have to be the outcome. There are often many paths you could take to reach your goals. When circumstances impact your original plan, look for a new strategy. Sometimes the best path to success is an unconventional one, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
What’s Most Important to You?
The best financial plans are grounded in your values. It can be hard to follow a budget or savings schedule, especially when you have to limit your spending. But it’s much easier to stick to your plan when you know it’s supporting things that are important to you.
Having a firm grasp of your values is both motivating and comforting. When you feel burned out on budgeting, you can renew your motivation by reminding yourself how that budget aligns with your priorities. And when things are challenging or you’re stressed out about the market, you can fall back on those values and adjust your plan to continue honoring them.
What’s Driving Your Goals?
Sometimes clients come to us and want to make a plan simply because it’s the expected thing to do. Maybe they’ve heard some financial expert talk about becoming debt-free, so they want to make a plan for that. But they haven’t really spent the time to think about whether being debt-free is truly important to them. And without having that internal motivation, it can be extremely hard to follow a financial plan, especially one that requires some hard decisions.
Before you make a plan to reach your goals, take some time to talk with your partner and make sure those goals are actually important to you. Maybe being debt-free is a goal you want to pursue because doing so would allow you to retire earlier, travel, or be financially generous to your children or grandchildren.
Those are excellent reasons to pay off debt because they are meaningful to you; they’re much more compelling than just following generic advice from a popular financial personality. When you have moments of financial frustration, you can remind yourself of the underlying reason for your goal.
What Are the Available Options?
Once you’ve identified your values and developed goals that align with them, you can make a plan to move forward. The key to making progress is to be flexible in your planning. There’s never going to be a perfect solution, and the “standard” path isn’t necessarily the right one.
We recently had a Guiding Wealth client who wanted to move closer to their children. But in the current housing market, making that move was going to be so expensive that it would impact their retirement plan. Initially, it looked like they would have to choose between moving or retiring. But instead, we started looking for some alternatives that could work better.
We took some time to talk about the underlying reason they wanted to move: being able to see their children more often. And we found a different solution: renting a home near their children for a few months each year. It was far less financially risky and allowed them to maintain their current retirement plan. Once we identified the true motivation, we could make a plan that honored that value without threatening their retirement plan.
Think Outside the Box to Reach Your Goals
Strong financial plans are built on your values and priorities. As long as you have a clear understanding of the reasons behind your financial goals, you can be flexible in your path to reach them. There’s never going to be a perfect plan with no risks. So it’s important to look at all the available options and choose the one that makes the most sense for you, even if it’s not the most obvious choice.
If you know what you want to achieve but aren’t sure how to get there, a financial planner can help. At Guiding Wealth, we’ll take the time to understand your goals and the priorities they’re built on. Then, we’ll look at all the ways to reach them and help you design a path that’s right for you and your family.
Working with an expert gives you the chance to solidify your values and identify all the potential ways to reach your goals. Whether you want to plan for retirement, change careers, or start investing, we are here to help. To talk with a Certified Financial Planner™, schedule a consultation online or call 214-810-3835.