Raise the Stakes

   How long does it take to design and implement a financial plan?

   Recently when posed that question at a virtual conference I was attending, a woman in the crowd volunteered, "6 weeks".

   But that is, quite honestly, bullshit.

   A good financial plan might only take you 4 hours to complete. 4 hours. Not 6 weeks.

   Of course what this lady was implying was that to find those 4 hours, it would take her 6 weeks to complete. It's not a question of how long it takes, but rather how much energy and focus is directed at the problem.

What Are Your Priorities?

   The areas that you choose to focus on will determine the results that you achieve. As Tony Robbins has said throughout his seminars and books; “Where focus goes, energy flows.

   We all work on what is most important to ourselves, and our accomplishments, in that moment.

   If you are struggling to complete a task in a reasonable amount of time, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate your priorities. Often it isn’t a question of “Is this important?”, because we all have many important decisions and plans to juggle. The question needs to become more specific, “What is the most important thing to do today?” 

   If the 6-week plan lady was in a different set of circumstances; creditors calling, repo-men showing up to take her car. In that situation, her response would have been very different. She would be willing to put in the work now, today, to get started down the path to a brighter financial future.

   Changing your perspective, upping the stakes can help you reevaluate what truly is important, and help you start taking steps to be better tomorrow than you are today. And that doesn’t just apply to your financial plans, but to everything. Your health, your relationships, your career. Anything that isn’t where it could be in your idealized future can benefit from this process of prioritization.

Up the Stakes

   If you are still struggling to make the daily disciplines a reality, try bringing the future closer to you. Not walking around the block today isn’t going to kill you tomorrow. But what if it did? That compounded loss of strength will catch up to you eventually. Often we put things off for longer than we should, until it’s too late to change without radical intervention.

   The US Government Accountability Office estimates that close to half of Americans aged 55 and over have no retirement savings. That’s tens of millions of adults who have delayed taking action for too long, leaving themselves vulnerable. But as the old Chinese proverb says, The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.

   What are you going to start doing differently today, to ensure that your future is all you dream of and more?