A few moments before you take your last breath, what will run through your mind? Hopefully, it won’t be one of the saddest thoughts imaginable, “I thought there’d be more time.” Before you start thinking in the wrong direction, I am not suggesting we embrace “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we may die,” as our motto.
What am I suggesting then?
If we are people who believe in taking care of ourselves and our families by planning for tomorrow, we should begin that planning now and not tomorrow. Too often, many of us who have good intentions leave things we should do now until it is too late.
So too, some of us avoid following through on things we know we should do, because we feel we have waited longer than we should. Take the 50 year old, for example, who thinks, “I should have been saving for retirement all along, but I haven’t; so it’s too late.” The reality is, as long as we are alive, it is never too late to begin doing what we know we should do.
I am about to ask you to partake in a tough exercise. However, it is for your own sake. I have done it and I believe it can help to get you moving in the right direction.
Sit down in a quiet place in your office or home. Close your eyes. Imagine that you are just moments away from leaving this thing we call life. What regrets do you have at this moment?
Are you upset that you didn’t buy a fancier car when you made your last automobile purchase? I doubt it.
Are you unhappy that you bought good clothing, but you didn’t buy super luxury brands? I don’t think so.
Are you sad that you didn’t eat in more extravagant restaurants when you dined out? I don’t believe that.
What do we think about when we are about to be swept off this mortal coil? Probably, that we wish we spent more time with our loved ones, even if we spent a good deal of time with them. Probably, that we wish we were better to our family and friends, even if we were awfully good to them. Probably, that there was a place or experience that we wish we would have visited or partaken of. However, it is doubtful that as we’re passing out of this world that we’ll regret not having bought more stuff, particularly needless, expensive stuff.
We will likely be concerned about our family’s future. Did we save enough to leave them in a secure position? Will they struggle now that I am gone? Could I have done more than I have done? If during this exercise, our answer to these questions is, “I thought there’d be more time,” it is no doubt a wakeup call to take action now.
In my role as an investment advisor, a fair number of folks have expressed these thoughts of regret to me over the years. People in their 50's often speak of a wish to "go back ten or fifteen years" to do things differently. Interestingly, folks in their 70's frequently express the exact same desire- to go back ten or fifteen years so they could do things differently! I have often wondered why this theme seems to come up again and again, with so many good people of diverse backgrounds and experiences. I will unpack that idea a bit in my next post.
Planning for the future makes sense. Deploying our resources to what is truly important to us make sense. Spending time with our loved ones makes sense. Saving money for the future makes sense. Diversifying our savings makes sense.
Proper financial planning can help us secure the future for ourselves and our loved ones. It can also help us to enjoy those experiences we truly long to have, in the here and now. Programmed savings and sensible budgeting can help us enjoy our lives now and in the future, while helping to prevent regret over not taking appropriate action.
Make a plan. Then take action. Do not delay because your feel it is too late. You are still alive. We can always improve. We can always do better. Plan. Then take action. Consider working with a financial services professional you trust, to help you.
Scott R. McGimpsey October 30th, 2017
This material was prepared by Scott McGimpsey and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources, however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Neither Summit Brokerage Services Inc. nor Scott McGimpsey is engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professionally services. If such assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal, state, or municipal tax penalty. Moreover, a diversified portfolio does not assure a profit or assure protection against loss in a declining market. UNIFIED PLANNING GROUP is an independent firm with securities offered through Summit Brokerage Services Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC