It’s a strange thing to say! “It’s not about the money.” But you have to believe me when I say this. It’s all about “The Plan”. More specifically it’s all about “Your Plan”.
As we wrap up this year, a review of some key financial points is in order. I have often repeated myself saying, “You can have anything you want in life. You just can’t have everything.” All we have to do is figure out the things we most want to have and to do. This step in making choices is critical.
A client told me, “I chase squirrels. The minute I get an idea in my head, I run after it.” In his situation, he was talking about spending money on the “latest thing” he wanted to purchase. His attention easily becomes diverted from his true list of goals and dreams on his family’s must-do and must-have list. And he is not alone.
A financial plan is freshly written, designed with specific goals and dreams. Quite often, an unexpected and unintentional change occurs. There’s a new vehicle parked in the clients’ driveway which was not included in the plan. My question is always the same. “How did that happen?”
Two culprits which often steal our dreams are fixation and distraction. These culprits can appear on the scene whether we have a financial plan or not.
Have you ever said, “I can’t afford it!” whatever “it” may be? When we are fixated on the lack of money, then we need to shift our eyes onto a plan. We don’t want to rob ourselves of any worthwhile dream just because we don’t have a plan. I said at the beginning, “it’s not about the money.” The plan is what helps us to focus on our desires. When we have a plan, we are likely to chase after the things we want rather than the things we only think we should have.
Distractions come in different shapes and forms. We often have to resist the power of influence which distracts us from achieving our goals and dreams. To prove my point, examine your bank and credit card statements for the past year. Find those pesky financial transactions -- the purchases you didn’t intend to make at the beginning of the year. With a financial plan, money is funneled in the direction of our genuine intentions: holidays, home renovations, and education and retirement funds.
Incidentally, my thoughts turned to a childhood story about a little blue train engine who had a big mountain to scale to the other side. The goal was to deliver packages of toys and food to the people. Although the trek up the mountain was hard slugging, she kept repeating four magical words, “I think I can!” “I think I can!” And she reached the top.
Slugging away at our goals and dreams, fixated on the plan and determined to avoid distractions requires every ounce of our energy and financial resources. When we give up too easily, we face the risk of disappointing ourselves. When we repeatedly tell ourselves, “I think I can! I think I can!” we instill belief in ourselves and our goals and dreams.
This story of The Little Engine That Could is filled with inspiration. Positive self-talk can override our skepticism in our ability to achieve seemingly impossible goals. The real power kicks in when we believe in our financial plan.
Do you still have doubts about where your focus rests? Please share your skepticism and comments with me.