How Can you Expect to Succeed Without a Plan?

How Can you Expect to Succeed Without a Plan?

We’ve all heard that famous Benjamin Franklin quote…

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.

We’ve all heard it, because it holds up. Having a plan isn’t a guarantee of success, but failing to plan means that falling short is almost certain. Which is why it surprises me that I often come across people who are a little bit reluctant to map out a financial plan.

Some seem to be quite content to plonk their money in an investment product or two, and then see what happens. After all, spontaneity and unpredictability makes life more exciting, right?

And if they’re wedded to a plan, maybe they think they won’t have the flexibility they want, the room to manoeuvre. Maybe they’ll need to compromise on what they’re doing now to set themselves up for future success.

Or maybe they’re worried that they might fail to meet the goals they set in their plan. No-one likes to fail.

All of these feelings are natural. They’re all understandable. But in reality, they won’t hold true.

You wouldn’t go shopping without a list

Take your weekly food shop as an example.

If you head to the local supermarket (or order online) without a list, then your evening meals for the next week might be excitingly spontaneous. But more likely, you’ll be missing a few all-important ingredients. You won’t go hungry, but you’ll probably fall short of what you’d imagined.

Work out which meals you’d like to cook in the next week and jot down the ingredients on a list, and ta dah – you have a plan.  A plan that means a smoother shopping experience and far more satisfying dinner times.

It’s the same with finances and planning for your future.

Having some idea of what your game plan is – what life looks like when it’s good and when it’s bad – gives us objectives to work with when structuring your investments. It lets us know how hard your money needs to work (instead of that old “as hard as possible please!” chestnut, which doesn’t tell us much at all).

Just take the time to work out what the goals are for your investments over the longer term, how they fit with your appetite for investment risk, tax position, etc. With the help of a financial plan and an adviser, selecting the right products (ISA, pensions, funds, etc) and investment strategy is as easy as picking ingredients off a supermarket shelf.

Get the right ingredients together, and you get closer to the outcomes you planned for.

A plan isn’t a straightjacket

All sensible. All good. Because you really want to be sensible with your money. But what about that need for flexibility?

Goals change, the world changes, and expectations change. Which means that plans need to change too.

Just having a financial plan in place gives people a sense of control and peace, because they know their money will be working harder over time, and it’ll generate a tax-efficient income when it needs to. And having been through the planning process, people know that the best way to deal with changing circumstances is with a plan.

That’s half the value of working with an advisory firm like Arkenstone; the ability to plan your path to financial security and ongoing advice when the plan needs adjusting.

Someone to let you know if you’re missing any ingredients.

Then there’s the other half of the value, which is having an expert on-hand to actually put that plan into action and then manage all the moving parts (things that people often struggle to do themselves).

Because as we all know, failing to plan is the same as planning to fail.

Get in touch with us today to discuss your plan and how we can help get you on the right track.

Simon Ben-Nathan