There are many situations in life in which we freely accept that the desired results will only come from an ongoing effort. One HIIT workout won’t turn us into Chris Hemsworth, a guitar hero is not made in a single lesson and a solitary Marie Kondo-style clean up on a rainy bank holiday won’t keep the house tidy forever.
Sustained achievement requires sustained application, and the same is true with keeping your finances in good shape. It’s true that the first step is often a big push to rationalise everything and put your goals on paper – that’s where planning begins – but planning continues thereafter, it’s an ongoing activity that requires your attention in the years ahead.
Planning certainly isn’t a sprint, but with the right approach it doesn’t have to feel like a marathon either. Let’s look at how you can keep the ‘ing’ in ‘planning’ and form a habit that will last a lifetime.
Change is the only constant
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan in which we must fervently believe and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” – Pablo Picasso
Great plans take time and expertise, but they also get revisited. A plan that’s carefully drawn up and then locked away in a drawer and forgotten about isn’t much better than no plan at all.
Your financial plan needs to flex and adapt with your own changing circumstances, your business and personal ambitions and any developments in the markets. You may still be decades away from retirement and a lot could change in the time between now and then. If you were to start a family for example, not only would you be incredibly busy (what with that and the business), you’d also find that new financial goals like school and university fees need to be added. It may be that somewhere along the way you inherit money too, which also needs to be factored in.
In the last few months we’ve all faced particularly challenging times, financially and emotionally. Those difficult periods rarely announce themselves upfront, so we can often find ourselves running to catch up. If business takes a hit and times are hard for a period, it could be that your goals need to be adjusted accordingly to sit at a new time horizon that’s a little further away. Conversely, if things were to go really well you may find you’re able to bring some of your goals forward in time and achieve them ahead of schedule.
It’s not rocket science, but then again in a way, it is. If you launched a satellite into space and the rocket that delivered it was a single degree off target, by the time it approached the other end of the journey, it would be a long way from where it was meant to be. The first calculation might have seemed perfect, but things change, they don’t always pan out as expected, so intelligent planning involves careful readjustments to make sure you stay on course.
Where Citywide can help
At Citywide we pride ourselves on the long-term, lasting relationships that we build with our clients. If we chat through your goals and develop a bespoke plan to set you on course to meet them, chances are you’d leave the office feeling positive about the future. But we wouldn’t be doing our job properly if we left it there.
We understand that the right plan for you should always be seen, to an extent, as a work in progress. That’s why it’s so important to meet regularly to check your plan is still right for you and that it factors in changes along the way. A plan that can intelligently respond to changes in your circumstances, even changes in what you want out of life, stands a much better chance of getting you to where you want to be.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this part of our guide to keeping your personal and business finances in shape, you can download our full guide, ‘10 actions successful business owners take to grow their personal wealth’ today.
If you’d rather read them one at a time, we’ll be posting all our tips for running a tight ship at home and at work, or you can [Link: opt in to email updates].