The Road to Point B
Life goals are important. I would like to share with you the reasons behind our name “Point B Financial”, and why having a Point B is so important in your life to reach your goals.
There are three steps to attaining those goals:
- Define your Mission: The Road from A to B
- Plan your Vision: Creating goals
- Achieve & Refine: Keeping up to date
DEFINE YOUR MISSION: THE ROAD FROM A TO B
I’m a financial planner who believes that financial planning is not an isolated activity.
Very few people want to become rich merely so that they can say that they have a lot of money. (Scrooge McDuck does, but he’s not a particularly good role model.) Instead, we want to achieve financial independence so that we can realize other dreams. Unfortunately, we can get so totally caught up in the very short-term activities of everyday life that we fail to think about where we are going. It’s as if we are caught on a hamster wheel, endlessly running as fast as we can without getting anywhere. Having a financial plan really begins with stopping and asking two simple (but also complex) questions: “Where am I now?” and “Where do I want to be?”
I have been managing a financial planning practice for 21 years. My current practice, called “Point B Financial”, is based on those two simple questions. As my client, where you are now is your Point A. Where you want to be is your Point B. When we know what those two points are, financial planning begins. How do we get you from Point A to Point B in the shortest possible time, on the most direct line available?
There is a famous story of Yogi Berra and a couple of teammates being driven to a game. Suddenly the driver exclaims: “I don’t know where we are! We’re lost! “Yes, Yogi replies, “but we’re making good time.”
A financial plan without a goal is something like that. Is it “making good time”? Will it be enough to meet future needs? Without knowing where you want to be, and when you want to be there, who knows? Without a vision and a set of goals, a financial plan is just an aimless document, and success (or failure) can’t be measured.
PLAN YOUR VISION: CREATING GOALS
Often, I find that I need to become a client’s life coach before we can develop their financial plan. Many people don’t know what they want to achieve: they don’t allow themselves to dream. Some are scared to challenge themselves. So, the very first thing for that client to do is to take a deep breath and step off the hamster wheel.
Now make a vision board. Look at all aspects of your life: employment; family; home; fitness; travel. Then define what your goals are. Be specific; be precise. Believe in your ability to overcome any obstacle. Believe that you can make your dreams a reality, one step at a time. Then add all of these goals to your vision board. It’s a good start to have the goals and dreams in your head, but you are more likely to make them your reality if you actually write them down. Draw them. Illustrate them. Define them. Get a true vision.
Once you have a clear vision of your Point B, we can develop a financial plan which will tie in with each of your goals. Where are you now? What are your assets and your liabilities? What steps need to be taken to reach each of your goals? Together we can map out a plan to your success.
The next step is to implement the plan. I have found that I am more likely to reach my goals if I first clear out the noise around me. Being a minimalist and very organized has helped me to do this. Block out the noise but, if you can’t, use it to fuel your fire.
You can expect to run into different obstacles as you try to navigate from Point A to Point B. You may need to learn new skills, or to overcome the negativity of those that doubt you. Finances, time pressures, fears and self-doubt – all may throw obstacles in your way. Outside noise may cause you to lose focus, throwing you off course. You need to believe in yourself and have the confidence to proceed along the path.
ACHIEVE AND REFINE: KEEPING UP TO DATE
It’s easy to get distracted by self-doubt or fear of getting your hopes up only to see them dashed. It’s true that there may be unexpected obstacles along the way, and that the occasional detour may be unavoidable. You need to keep a laser focus on your end point. Surround yourself with positive people. Form an alliance. Allow yourself to be challenged and to think “outside the box”.
Stay focused on your vision board. As circumstances change, you must update it so that it stays current. Keep moving forward.
Don’t waste time and energy by looking backward. You can’t drive a car by staring into the rear-view mirror. Do not focus on where you have been. Focus instead on who you are, what you want to achieve, what fuels your soul. By all means learn from your past and use the knowledge of where you were to help you as you push forward, but that’s not the same as looking backward. Don’t look back: only look forward. Use binoculars once in a while if you feel that your end goal is still too far away. See it. Believe that it’s yours and put the time and effort into achieving it.
Then, one day, you will find that you have arrived at your Point B. That’s the time to pause and think about the journey. You will be amazed at the difficulties that you overcame. It may have been a windy route, with road bumps and a few unavoidable detours. Still, you have arrived.
The journey begins when you start to define the beginning and end points. So step off the hamster wheel, take a deep breath, and begin. Believe in yourself and create your own reality. Point A to Point B – it’s your journey. Enjoy the ride.