Determining what matters and will matter most to you at different stages of your life are crucial to developing a financial plan. Not everyone has the same opinion or values the same things. The general items may be similar, but the level of importance will vary from person to person.
When my girls were babies, they each had their significant item that they could not live without. For my daughter Julianne, this item was her baby doll and in good times and bad, she would look for this doll to carry with her. So much so, that on vacation, the doll would make the list of limited allowed items and travel on the plane with her. It was the go to item for little Julianne.
Now as most parents can relate to, this doll was definitely crucial to Julianne’s happiness and therefore, a significant item for our much needed sleep. Taking the baby doll to Disneyworld turned out to be a much riskier task than I had envisioned. The baby doll was inadvertently left behind in the hotel room as we checked out and, after many frantic calls to the hotel, the doll was nowhere to be found. In typical Disney fashion, a package arrived a few days later with a small stuffed Mickey Mouse to ease her pain. But, as much as Julianne loved Mickey Mouse, her true love was still missing.
We did what any sleep deprived parent would do and headed to the toy store to find the SAME doll. Success (hard to believe, right?) and without hesitation we purchased not ONE but TWO of the same dolls. The spare doll was kept hidden away just in case of another emergency.
This mattered to her. And like most toddlers, the favorite item is not interchangeable. You cannot substitute Mickey Mouse or another item for the much loved doll.
The things that matter most to you will change as you grow and you enter different stages in your life. In your twenties, it may be traveling and exploring different career paths. In your thirties it may be buying a home and beginning a family. Your forties may include college expenses and helping your parents. Life changes and the things that matter most to you may change as well. During all of these changes, hopefully retirement planning is occurring as well.
Financial planning is determining what matters most to you. Then the planning can begin. The issues and challenges might be similar from one person to the next, but what you need and value must be addressed. Your specific needs are paramount to making and keeping an eye on the plan, and no two plans are exactly the same.
Your specific items and needs must be planned for in order that they are met. Planning for specific goals in your future will keep you focused on those things that you value. And they are not interchangeable with other persons’ goals.
So what do you value the most and how are you going to begin to ensure that your future needs will be met?
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