The following is a guest post by Anthony Delauney, author of Owning the Dash: The No-Regrets Retirement Roadmap. If you’d like to submit a guest post to Money Q&A, be sure to check out our Guest Posting Guidelines.
We often associate financial success with achieving a target amount of wealth, finding the ‘hot’ stock, or discovering the most cost-efficient way to achieve the maximum rate of return. In essence, it’s all about the money. It’s a rat race to see how much better you can do than your neighbors, your friends, your co-workers, and even your own family.
Some individuals love to share success stories about when they bought into a certain company or cryptocurrency or real estate holding and how much money they made. Just like on social media, we often want to present a façade of perfect tranquility, a world where our decisions are almost always the ‘right’ ones.
The reality is that most truly successful people in business, finance, love, and life often share that their path to reach the platform of success was built upon failure after failure. They had to fail to succeed. They also had to accept that in order to fail, they first needed to try.
Many of us are familiar with this concept, but we struggle to apply it to our situation. One of the most challenging parts of achieving financial success is a person’s willingness to pull back the curtain or, more specifically, see what truly needs to be done to turn the dreams into realities.
Have you ever caught yourself saying, “I need to do this,” or “I plan to do this,”? Such statements imply that there is an obstacle preventing you from moving forward. If you truly needed to be doing it, then you would be doing it. Long-term planning rarely requires short-term urgency. It’s easy to put off addressing your estate planning, getting life insurance, paying off high interest credit card bills, analyzing a budget, or even determining what you need to do to be on track for your retirement dreams.
The issue with putting off the long-term planning is that your dreams start to become less and less exciting. Rather than sacrificing more to make the original dream a reality, we limit the dream instead. Consider this fitness analogy: You have always wanted to run a full marathon, and you decide that a year from today you will run the marathon.
To help keep yourself motivated, you sign up for an event, so that you know you have a target date. A few weeks pass by, and you realize that you have not yet created any type of training program to prepare for the marathon. You convince yourself that you still have time.
Another few months go by, and while you have done a few short runs, you realize that there still isn’t any game plan in place and that you have not yet even tried running a full 26.2 miles. You might even be getting winded after just ten miles.
You probably can see where this analogy is going. The marathon date draws closer, and instead of feeling excited about the event, your anxiety and stress about the event start to take shape. You might come up with some alternatives to your dream.
Perhaps you’ll run a half marathon or a 10K instead of the full marathon. Maybe you will postpone it to a later date. After all, no one really cares when you run the marathon. It’s your personal dream. Or worse yet, you may start to research reasons why you shouldn’t ever run the marathon so that you can justify quitting on the dream altogether.
I once heard another analogy of someone lying in their death bed surrounded by ghosts. But the ghosts were not departed family members or friends. Instead, the ghosts were the forgotten and abandoned dreams that the person had throughout their life.
While we don’t want to admit it, we often tend to self-sabotage. We convince ourselves that the reason we don’t achieve our dreams is that we can’t control our fate. While in truth there are many things that we can control if we take the time and make the effort. This leads to the idea of the ‘honest conversation.’
Some people love money and planning and strategizing. Others do not. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. The honest conversation has to do with you taking ownership of your weaknesses.
What are the To-Dos that you know you need to do but have not taken the time to address? For example, in the world of finance, can you answer yes to these questions:
- Have you addressed your estate planning needs?
- Have you examined your protection needs to help make sure that you or others who depend on you will be ok if you were to become very ill or pass away?
- Do you know when you plan to retire and, if yes, do you have a plan in place to help assure that you can achieve your retirement target goal?
- Do you know how your investment accounts are allocated and are they aligned with the plan you have set up for your retirement?
If you have answered no to any of these questions, then the next critical question is “Why?”. For some people, examining investments can feel daunting and stressful. For others, discussing the estate planning needs requires having some very difficult conversations.
If you don’t feel a passion to do something, it’s unlikely that you will. But, if you can recognize your unwillingness to address the To-Dos required to bring your dreams to life, then you can seek the professional help needed to motivate and guide you.
There is a reason that coaches, tutors, trainers, and advisors exist. Seeking help in areas where you do not understand or are not motivated is not a failure on your part. It is a success! You are taking ownership of your goals and your dreams, and you are taking the required steps to make them a reality. Don’t worry about the judgment of others, and make sure that you are not judging yourself.
This is your journey! Do what you need to do to bring those big dreams to life!
Anthony Delauney is a financial advisor and franchise business owner. He has worked in the financial services industry since 2003, helping families develop financial plans that comprehensively address their broad range of goals and dreams, including cash flow management, debt elimination, protection planning, new home purchases, family planning, small business planning, education, and retirement planning, investment education, and estate planning.
His latest book THE NO-REGRETS RETIREMENT ROADMAP is available now via Amazon. He is also the author of Owning The Dash®: Applying The Mindset Of A Fitness Master To The Art Of Family Financial Planning (2020) and Dash And Nikki And The Jellybean Game (2021), the first book in the ‘Owning The Dash’ Kids series. More information can be found on his website: www.owningthedash.com