When considering a financial plan, ask yourself the following question.  Am I (are we) ready to plan now?  Being ready is an important first step in the process.  Having the right mindset in place allows you to get the most out of your plan.

This mindset often begins with a curiosity to learn more on where you stand, and perhaps where you are headed.  At any given time, there may be financial and life questions you’d like better answers to.  Guesses and hunches don’t go very far when it comes to thinking about tomorrow.  Can we move to that home, accept that new job, send our child to that college, repurpose our time five years earlier than anticipated?  A financial plan should be a roadmap that you choose to follow.  The key is being highly engaged so you get the most out of it.

It’s ok if you’re not ready now.  There is no shame, or there shouldn’t be, in deferring to a later date.  Many may disagree with this approach, but life is messy and timing is everything.  I don’t believe it’s worth going through the planning motions if you’re heart and mind aren’t in it.  This may include push back from a significant other who may not be on board yet.  Waiting is not ideal, but a plan you’re not excited about simply won’t be implemented.

Waiting feels good today because it’s one less decision, or a series of decisions to make.  Unfortunately, these decisions don’t evaporate overtime, they tend to add up.  Then one day a choice must be made.  With limited context, unknown options, and perhaps an outdated roadmap, you become unsure of alternatives and must react.  Very few decisions will stick overtime when reacting is necessary.

Being ready to plan requires a vested interest in your tomorrow.  Having a willingness to set time aside today and get clear on where you stand is essential.  This also includes assessing your strengths and weaknesses, with regards to your health, time, and money.  We’re all different and none of us are perfect.  There should be no judgement in these areas, just reflections that allow you to better articulate where you’d like to be.

A plan is great, but planning is better.  You may have created a plan previously, but time has passed, and it’s been a while.  Plans are like bread and get stale overtime if they are not used.  Ongoing dialogue with a planner increases your readiness.  This allows you to refine your goals as life plays out.  Your decisions and confidence increase as you understand what matters and what is just noise.

Having a partner vested in your future success creates accountability.  Revealing your background on income and debits including your dreams and a timeline is not natural.  This keeps many individuals and families on the sidelines instead of engaging in conversations.  Talking with your planner should be like chatting with your physician each year at your check-up.  Vitals are collected to assess any immediate concerns.  More importantly a baseline of data points is created and reviewed that may help with recommendations over time.

Being ready to plan requires a desire to grow in the right direction.  Reach out below if we may be helpful in your journey.

Advisory services through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Cambridge and Flowerstone Financial are not affiliated.

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