Later this month, the Comfort Circle™ dinner series resumes and our theme is: “Create Your One-Page Financial Plan.”
I can hear the push-back to this notion already:
Is that really possible?
How good of a plan will it be?
Will it be effective? Will it be powerful? Will it be comprehensive?
So, let’s just get this on the table: A financial plan doesn’t have to be lengthy, hard and complicated in order to be good, effective and powerful.
Yet, that’s the perception many people have.
This, along with a whole host of other reasons, are what holds people back from creating a financial plan.
From my perspective, this is the classic case of making the simple, complicated and the easy, hard — unnecessarily!
But it turns out there may be a biological reason for this: your brain!
Supposedly, because our brain thrives on stimulation, if something is simple, it concludes that it can’t possibly be — that something must be wrong. I’m still researching this, so we’ll delve more into the scientific aspect another time.
For now, let’s chat about what happens when you make the simple, complicated and the easy, hard when it comes to your financial life. For starters…
You stay stuck.
You lose time.
You increase your stress.
Important matters to tackle any time, but especially at this time of the year when you are likely focused on fresh starts and your goals are energized by the newness of the year (even if you eschew resolutions).
As my dear friend, Charlie Gilkey, says: “Planning is an exercise in awareness.”
Here’s what that means when it comes to you creating a financial plan:
It’s an exercise in getting honest with yourself about what you want; what you have; what you need; and who/what can help you.
The Value of a Retreat
The week between Christmas and New Year’s, I had a 1.5 day “retreat” at my local co-working space for the sole purpose of doing my annual review and planning process. This is when I reflect on the year – celebrating wins, acknowledging set-backs and lessons learned – and set my strategic priorities and goals for the year ahead.
Sure, my overall game-plan is longer than a single page (and handwritten, to boot!); however, my summary is nicely consolidated onto a 5×7 index card. It’s pretty awesome!
That time away from the “work” of work and life may seem small given the other 363.5 days of the year. But the symbolism is powerful! Stepping away to do my retreat says: preparation is just as important as the doing. And, that me and my business are worth it.
So, when I hear people say they don’t have a financial plan (or a recent one) because it takes too much time; it’s hard; it’s complicated, I think: Nah, what you’re really saying is, “I’m not worth taking the time to do this.”
Not the usual New Year’s message, I know.
That is on purpose.
Especially if you are one of the 44% of Americans who don’t have a financial plan. I want to spark a fire under your bum if you are entering 2018 without a financial plan, or an intent to create one.
Because as I said last year, the world needs you to live a big, bold and beautiful life. And there’s no denying the fact that money will play a role in making this happen, even if you’re not motivated by money.
Interestingly, here’s where things get a little tricky: Money plays a role in your life whether you plan for it or not.
But without a plan, how can you “talk” to your money and tell it explicitly what you want from it; how can you describe what job you are expecting it to perform? How can you align your choices and the actions you take with your goals?
When you create a plan, it sets the direction for your money – much like creating a road-map. This is the end-result of the planning process.
On the other hand, the planning process is the result of asking and answering questions — like what do you want; where are you now; what do you need to close the gap; who/what can help you; what are your priorities; what are your goals, to name a few.
Notice how these questions (and likely your answers) have little to do with just crunching the numbers. Money is never just about money. #IJS
There are jewels embedded in your answers. Such as clues to help you feel less frustrated with money or perhaps not in the same ways as years past; ideas on how to reduce the triggers that cause you stress (physical, emotional and financial); suggestions of choices to make that will help you get out of your own way.
The Beauty of Fresh Starts
What’s great about the energy of entering a new year is the invitation it extends to be reflective, and to use that to help chart the way forward. Sure, the answers you discover may be hard and complicated because well…that’s life. However, making the time to plan is quite simple and easy.
That is why this is the perfect time to have a financial retreat. Dedicated time where you work on your financial plan and plans.
Its worth to you isn’t based on how long it takes – it’s valuable if you take a few hours or a few days. Nor is the quality of your plan a reflection of how complex the process is that you follow to create it.
Why? Because it’s not really about the plan. It’s about the fact that you carved out the time to create (or modify) your plan! More important, it’s about the message this sends – the message that says: You’re worthy and important!
So, if you are entering 2018 without a financial plan, or an intent to create one, I hope you’ll schedule a financial retreat with yourself (and significant other, if relevant) before the week is out. I am pretty darn sure it could be the difference between you having a good year and a magnificent one – at least where you and your relationship with money are concerned!
You could also join us on January 29th for the next Comfort Circle™ dinner where we’re going to create your one-page financial plan together! Click here to RSVP.
Either way, my big wish for you and yours is that in 2018 you will have more ups than downs and blessings and surprises that exceed your grandest expectations. Happy New Year!
p.s. If the Comfort Circle™ dinner series is new to you, you can learn more here.