What do you want?
Despite popular belief, this question — and no other — should be the force behind your financial plan and your financial decisions.
Financial planning is all about finding the answer to, and planning the steps towards … what you want.
Financial planning is not really about:
- Making investment decisions
- Minimizing personal tax
- Creating a spending plan (so much nicer than a budget!)
- Determining how and when to take income
- Allocating savings into your investment accounts
- Planning your estate
- Making use of corporations and trusts
- Maximizing government benefits
All of these are the tools we use that help us get to the places you want to go. But financial planning is about those places you want to go.
Maybe it’s a lifestyle that doesn’t rely on your hard work to fund it.
Maybe it’s children with fully paid university degrees or a down payment on their first home.
Perhaps it’s a small hobby farm on a lake in Ontario or an island in British Columbia.
Or 25 years of cruising international locations.
Or a daily trip to the library and an afternoon with grandchildren.
Or a company that runs itself and sends you dividends for the rest of your life.
Or a one year sabbatical sailing the world.
Or that PhD you always wanted.
Or a legacy that inspires for generations.
Whatever your endgame looks like — that’s the purpose and the focus of your plan. It’s what we keep in the forefront of our thoughts when we decide to make that investment, allocate those savings, plan our cash flow, our taxes, and our estate.
Financial planning is not a set of standard rules that everyone “should” follow — it’s not a moral code. It’s the unique system, tools we use, and decisions we make that get you to that place where you want to be.