Life is HardSubmitted by Financial Planning Solutions, LLC on January 3rd, 2019
This past weekend, I was unpacking some boxes of books from our recent move.
As I was sorting through them, I came across Dr. M. Scott Peck's classic, "A Road Less Traveled"
It has been years since I read this book and as I opened it, reading the first line of the book "Life is hard" caused me to pause.
The older I have become, the more this seems evident. Don't get me wrong, I realize things could always be worse. For example, when I talk to a Dana Farber patient that is sick and also has the financial burden a cancer diagnosis can bring, it is pretty self-evident that life can indeed be hard. Really hard.
According to Dr. Peck, problems, depending on their nature, can evoke all sorts of emotions. Anger, sadness, grief, guilt, fear, etc. I think we have all experienced these feelings.
As I skimmed the first chapter, I began to see a correlation to what he was saying and having one's financial life in order.
He went on to talk about a woman that came to see him that had a tendency to procrastinate. He explained to her that by delaying gratification and doing the "not so fun stuff first", she would be better off and the procrastination would diminish.
As a financial planner, I have sat down with countless people over the years who for one reason or another, have not given enough attention to the "not so fun stuff". Things like having a handle on their expenses, having a savings plan and emergency fund. Making sure their loved ones were taken care of if something happened to them.
I think that sometimes we actually make things harder for ourselves. By putting off things we should do, it either causes us more stress later on or can create a bigger financial issue.
Listen, we are all human and it is very easy to put important things off. I'm far from perfect as I can fall guilty of some of these things. Take bringing a healthy lunch to work every day. I have found that if I don't get my lunch together the night before, I'll end up eating stuff I shouldn't.
I could say my problem is I don't have time in the morning to get my lunch together. But we both know that is just an excuse. (and that is what I used to say so now I do it the night before). Time isn't always the problem. Priorities are.
If for example, I asked you to make an appointment with an estate planning attorney to update your estate plan, you may say you are too busy. (Not a high enough priority)
But if you won the lottery while visiting a nearby state and had to drive 3 hours each way to cash in the ticket, you may find the time. (A high enough priority)
I talked to a friend last week that was telling me they would like to exercise but just didn't have the time. In almost the same breath, she mentioned that she binge watched three seasons of a Netflix show. (This by the way, is a perfect example of how one could have their cake and eat it too. I suggested to my friend that she could exercise while watching a show). It's not always lack of time. It is lack of priorities. But there is also what Dr. Peck mentions about the emotional component. Anger, fear, etc. Maybe we are afraid of failing so we just don't start.
There may be some things you want to be different this year. Maybe it is getting some financial things squared away. Maybe it is getting into better shape. Maybe it is eating better.
We all have problems and sometimes there seems to be no shortage of them. And there are problems and there are problems. I may not have a solution to a serious real problem but I promise you this. If you let me know what you would like to change, I'll do whatever I can to help you.
I suggest writing down three things we want to change this year. Not fifty. Just three. I'm here to help you make 2019 a better year!
As my sister Eileen and I say, "A year from now, you will be glad you started today".
All the best.
Rick Fingerman, CFP®, CDFA®, CCPS®
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