If you don’t define where you want to go how will you know if you get there or even how to get there? How will you know if you are on track or need to change directions? Obviously without defining very specifically and clearly your financial goals you can not design a Proactive step by step plan. Without a plan you can’t be proactive and will likely not be successful. Define, execute, measure, and refine your plan and your chances for success are greatly enhanced.
A happy life is a balanced life. We all have our dream life swimming around in our minds and hearts some place. Most do not clearly define on paper our ideal life. The same principles of success and proactivity apply to faith, family, friends, fitness and fun. SCHEDULE time for the important things in life in addition to work and business. As “they” say all work and no play is not a good or healthy thing.
NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.” —Andrew Carnegie
A goal is not a goal if it is not specific it is a wish or a hope. I want to be financially independent for example can not be quantified and as such can not be measured against a plan. In order to execute, measure and then refine your plan it first must be DEFINED. A better goal would be to have an income stream not dependent upon you working of $100,000 per year. This goal is specifically defined, can be broken down into the funds you need to have set aside which can be segmented into monthly deposits into investments and then measured for success on a quarterly and annual basis.
NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “What gets measured gets improved.” – Peter Drucker
Once specific goals are defined, the process of measuring and adjusting starts. A good independent financial advisor will actually use “Goals Based Investing” in designing your recommended portfolio. A separate portfolio of investments should be established for different goals. For instance you may have goals to buy a new house, set money aside for kids or grandkids college and retirement. A separate portfolio is necessary because there are different timelines and therefore different volatility factors. The advisor’s software will track your actual results at any given time against the plan laid out to reach your goals. The purpose for measuring actual vs. planned is to make adjustments to keep actual at or above planned.
NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “Successful people maintain a positive focus in life no matter what is going on around them. They stay focused on their past successes rather than their past failures, and on the next action steps they need to take to get them closer to the fulfillment of their goals rather than all the other distractions that life presents to them.” – Jack Canfeld
With specific goals defined and measuring procedures in place action must be taken when actual and planned results get off. By converting long term goals into short term steps to achieve your goal you are creating the ability to take action to adjust the direction of the plan. The longer the time horizon for the measurable steps the less opportunity there is to make changes. An actionable plan is one with a minimum of quarterly evaluations and comparisons of planned results and actual results. Imagine going on a trip from Oklahoma to California and your map view is a 1,000 mile view. The best you can do is steer your car west and head out. The tighter the map the more specific your planned trip and the better the chance of you getting where you are going.
NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “You need to overcome the tug of people against you as you reach for high goals.” – George S. Patton
Unrealistic goals are not goals at all but fantasy and only serve to create frustration which leads to quitting on the process. A goal to have 10 million dollars at 65 when you are 55 and make $100,000 a year probably isn’t realistic unless you are real lucky at the lottery. Goals that stretch you and force you to dream big however are not necessarily unrealistic. The determining factor as to whether a goal is realistic really boils down to whether the steps necessary to attain the goal are realistic. Dream big then break down the plan that would have to be put in place to achieve that goal. Seek advice from a qualified business coach and a proactive Accountant to work the numbers and analyze the plan. What you absolutely do not do is ask your neighbors or family or friends what they think. There is a story told by men who catch crabs for a living that if you have one crab in a basket you have to put a lid on it. If you have more than one crab in the basket you don’t need a lid because every time one tries to climb out another one will reach up and pull him down.
NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” – Jim Rohn
NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “What gets scheduled gets done.” – Lee Cockerell
We all make time for what is important to us. If your goals are real and you are serious about reaching them you will make time to clearly define, take action, measure results and refine the steps as necessary. If your goal is to be a millionaire and the only possible way of that happening is win the lottery but you do not even take the time to buy a ticket you are not serious about even this unrealistic goal. You and only you are responsible for attaining your goals. Take responsibility for your financial future because if you do not achieve your goals it is your fault and yours alone. It is not the government’s fault or because the economy is bad or any other excuse you can come up with. Reactive people make excuses and believe they are victims. Things happen to them instead of them making things happen. A Proactive person takes responsibility, plans, schedules, measures and adjusts on their path to the success as THEY have defined it.