Under the Influence: Why Do We Ignore Our Need for Planning?

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By Shawndi Purselley, CFP®, CDFA®, Owner and Co-Founder, Wealth Advisor

The road to financial fitness can be cumbersome and overwhelming.   To draw an analogy, physical fitness is much like financial fitness.  The advice given to someone seeking physical wellness is very similar to advice I would give to someone seeking financial wellness.  I realized this after my own challenges with both.  How do you begin, continue, maintain and thrive when it comes to financial and physical fitness?

About 10 years ago, after the birth of my 3rd child at age 36, I began feeling extremely drained, achy and I felt like I was gaining a pound a day.  I allowed myself to accept this as a new norm and just assumed it was the way life would be from now on.  After many months of agony and pushing my health under the rug, I finally sought the advice of a doctor.   It turned out my thyroid was acting up and I was placed on hypo-thyroid medication.  After about 3 months on my medication I still felt bad.  I decided to revise my plan.  With a change to my medication, a healthy diet and a morning workout routine with a personal trainer, I began to feel much better.

Remember, you must be willing to work hard for your financial security just like you must be willing to work hard for good health.  After all, no one else is going to do it for you.   You cannot successfully build a health or financial plan by ignoring your current problems.  It is not acceptable to bury your head in the sand.   They say that most people make decisions by avoiding fear and embracing comfort.  We run from fear to find comfort.  However, fear can be overcome by education, building a game plan and seeing it through.  The sense of comfort you may feel by ignoring problems is typically short lived, with a much larger burden created by kicking the can down the road.   Building a map for yourself makes the road ahead a lot easier to travel.   Sometimes we create our own false sense of comfort by remaining oblivious to our situation and inability to take action.   I can’t tell you how many people I have met with over the years that afterwards confessed they wished they had begun planning with me years earlier!

If you are one to neglect your health, you may only react to a health issue once it scares you half to death or lands you in the hospital.   If you tend to disregard financial issues or problems, you may continue to rack up debt, ignore savings or hand out hard earned money to undeserving family members.  If you pass over your financial situation without giving it the attention it deserves because it’s easier, then you will one day find that retirement is much harder than it needed to be.  Regardless of your goal being physical or financial, here are a few tips

  • Routinely see your doctor, financial advisor, insurance agent, and CPA. Even if just to confirm everything is good and you are on the right path, you should not neglect these meetings.
  • If you feel something is wrong, maybe it is! Accept your instinct, don’t ignore symptoms and call a professional for help.
  • Be willing to listen to sound advice and develop a plan.
  • Tweak the plan as needed and don’t be afraid to make changes to your course of action when necessary.

And remember, professionals are here to give advice and to provide knowledge and guidance.  I routinely seek the advice of my doctor, CPA, insurance agent, lawyer, and personal trainer.  I find that consistently and continuously checking in with these professionals keeps me on track and accountable.   I feel a sense of control when I hold myself accountable to these annual visits.

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