Jun 25, 2014 This is Why We Plan
Plan with the ‘why’ in mind– this is my new mantra and if you’ve ever had a difficult time reaching one of your goals, maybe it should be yours too.
So many times in our lives, we focus our energy on the process or the ‘how’ of planning–for instance, “how am I going to pay for retirement?” or “how much should we save for college?”. While this planning is essential to reaching our goals, the ‘how’ part of the financial planning process can often be frustrating and challenging. For must of us, figuring out the ‘how’ means making tough choices, sacrificing today for our goals tomorrow. The ‘how’ is often not fun.
But shifting our focus from the ‘how’ to the ‘why’, or rather from the process to the end goal can often mean the difference between throwing in the towel and enduring to the end. The phrase “keeping your eye on the prize” sums it up nicely. Your prize might be traveling, a college education, retiring early to pursue other passions and many others. Knowing where you are going, and why you want to get there, can help you outlast the struggles of how to make it happen.
Three years ago, my husband and I faced a stressful life event. After 7 years of marriage, we were still childless. We knew what we wanted – a child – but planning all the ‘hows’ was exhausting. There were so many options, so many decisions to be made. We couldn’t wrap our minds around the logistics of getting from where we were to where we wanted to be. After counseling with family members and doctors we made the decision to pursue adoption and last month welcomed a son, Clark, into our lives. This event was the culmination of years of ‘hows’–budgeting, doctor’s visits, advice from experts and family. And lots and lots of heartache and frustration. At times, knowing why we were planning was all that kept us going.
Ultimately, there are limitless ways to reach any goal but, in the end, how you reach that goal may not be as important as why it was a goal in the first place. Finding your ‘why’ will help you outlast the bad times. For our family, Clark is why we planned.
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