According to the National Consumer Survey on Personal Finance, almost two-thirds of respondents didn’t have a written financial plan. Let’s think about this. It’s like considering a vacation, getting to the airport, wandering onto a plane (go with me, I know you can’t just wander on to a plane), and saying to the pilot, “I’ll go anywhere you decide.” Ridiculous, right?
You wouldn’t even allow a vacation to be unplanned; why would you allow your life to be unplanned? Why would you allow someone else to make your decisions? Ok, I know that many of you are feeling the futility of planning. A report from the Deloitte Center for Financial Services found that 58% of pre-retirees don’t have a retirement plan and 60% feel that health care costs will eat up any funds no matter what they save. Furthermore, almost 40% believe that investment returns won’t be sufficient to provide adequate retirement income regardless of how much is saved. So, why bother planning?
As I have discussed previously, our kids are watching and listening to us… in this case, they are listening to you be a victim to your own doing. Victims are helpless. Here is the reality: if you don’t take charge of your financial life, someone else will have to. Do you really want your kids making those decisions?
The first step in your GPS is to set your goals. This exercise also needs to be performed with your adult kids.
Your GPS: What do you want your life to look like? When can you retire? Where do you want to live? Do you want to live near the family? What can you afford? What will your expenses look like later in life? You know all of the questions; it’s just that most of you have not written them out and started to deal with them. Make sure that the kids are consulted, because this will affect them as well.
Kids GPS: Have the same discussions with your kids and help them and their partners answer the same questions. Obviously, depending upon their ages, some of the questions will revolve around them having kids, their lifestyle, their work, etc. They also need a written plan.