1996: Wishful Thinking – Park
Financial Planning is not about wishing, it is about planning and doing. The long Jubilee weekend was not something that we wished into being, but something that had been planned. We may have wished for the weather to have been rather better in June, but that is beyond what we can control. Indeed some of the performers at the main concert may now be wishing that they hadn’t agreed to perform as it revealed some rather obvious and disappointing shortcomings. Some of them should have kept to “their own” material or normal way of doing things. Wishing for a talent is not the same as possessing it (I’m being very generous compared to many of the views expressed on Twitter and in homes across the country, though it would seem that most of the newspapers reviewers must have been too worried about Leveson or enjoying their street party somewhere or else at the Coldplay concert).  The occasion itself seems to have largely escaped normal newspaper critique, which is surprising to say the least. Perhaps the media are now too afraid to upset the celebrities. Sadly, leaving people with a sense that they can do things that they really shouldn’t is not helpful in the long-term. A good financial planner will not flatter the ego, but will calmly help clients to be realistic and provide a truthful assessment. Financial planning has nothing to do with some sort of hocus pocus wish list (such as being able to sing). Certainly in discussion with clients I help them to prioritise what is important to them, some of the list may be rather wishful and this needs challenging. For example, having a pension of £75,000 a year is a wish that won’t come true (barring the miraculous or windfall) if you only save £5,000 a year. Wishing to retire at 55 is rather different from planning to do so.
The skilled financial planner is essentially acting as one that helps prioritise and then take action. There may be a degree of challenge as well, we all want high returns for low or no risk, but sadly that is not realistic. However, great financial planning is more than that, it goes deeper. Great financial planning works in partnership, exploring together what actually is important to you, uncovering and applying your own values and confronting unrealistic expectations. Great financial planning provides peace of mind, focus and freedom.
This prompts a vital question, can you delegate? Do you want to spend your valuable time becoming skilled in aspects of life that you know are important, but not your own skill set and may hold little real interest? Do you act as mechanic to your own car? There are obviously some tasks that you might select to do – perhaps mowing the lawn, but I would suggest that this occurs where some pleasure is derived (being the mechanic to your weekend vintage sports car is rather different from servicing the X5). In short, stick to what you are good at and delegate to the things you cannot do to those that can.  So too with financial planning, (and singing live) sure, have some fund money to play the stock market, but don’t bet the house/pension/school fees/lifestyle. Wishing things were different has no part in financial planning. Clearly identifying your lifestyle and working towards the best way of achieving it is about taking action.
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