In the first year of my career I probably printed a thousand colored pages worth of financial plans. These plans had a table of contents, charts, graphs, lengthy explanations and lots of wordy details. Each was at a minimum 50 pages long, hole punched and delivered to the client in a nice leather bound binder. When presenting them, we were taught to go through every painstaking page. (as crazy as it seemed)
The other day I read an article that brought back memories of those first couple years and the gist was that a financial plan is a map, but financial planning is a compass. After my first year and wasting so much ink on printing, I finally realized that often, by the time the ink dried, the plan was already obsolete! Life changes, people change, goals change, decisions change and the road you thought most efficient to take, turns out to be closed or under heavy construction.
Practical financial planning is most successful by first accepting that we don’t know what is truly going to happen. With this acceptance, we are better prepared to deal with the unexpected detours needed to reach our destination. Creating a plan is still as valuable as ever, but creating it once, putting it on a shelf and assuming the numbers will work out as printed, is a fool’s errand.
Financial planning, like life, is a journey that we believe you shouldn’t have to travel alone. We also now believe you shouldn’t have to travel it while lugging around a heavy leather bound binder 🙂