I’ve heard over and over than many people spend more time planning their vacation than their financial life. I actually thought this could be true since I feel in the best cases people just think “my work just moved some money into my 401k, I’m good” or “I saved $50 this paycheck.”
Those of us—I know you’re one of the rarest of us—who plan and think about how to structure your savings and future goals are few and far between.
So why am I writing this post? Last week I had an unplanned opportunity to head to LA for a week. I had five days or so to plan what I wanted to do. I spent an hour mapping out a plan for a few days at the beach, then a couple days in Hollywood, then back to the beach for a few more days.
I then began researching hotels, motels, then AirBnBs. After 3 hours or so, I had my AirBnB’s booked and secured. I quite was amazed that the whole afternoon had flown by as I picked great locations to sleep. I then saw some news about “the stock market’s gains for the day” and realized, I probably just spent more time booking my 7 hotel nights than most people spend figuring out their financial plan for a year.
I then preceded—over the next few days—to map out activities to undertake while I was in LA. I made a list of all my favorite things. I then made a list of things I thought would be different (see space shuttle), and some of which I always wanted to do (hike to the Hollywood sign, eat at the Rainbow Bar & Grill). I organized all of this planning into my schetchle and then I did even more planning.
All of a sudden, my 7 day LA adventure, had taken the better part of 4 days of planning. I’d hate to guess at how many people spend part of four days PER YEAR planning their finances. Even though their financial plan can affect over 50 years of life!
I have to say, my LA adventure was AMAZING. I’ve been to LA dozens of times but this trip was a magical combination of old favorite activities and new adventures. My days of planning, thinking and estimating helped make this one of my best vacations ever. “I love it when a plan comes together.”
By correlation, there is no doubt planning for your financial life will help make your life better. Fact: I know that my past financial planning efforts, driving us into FIRE, is what allowed me to take the time to both plan and enjoy this LA adventure.
It’s time to step up and plan. Take time to think about what you want in the future. Sketch out some goals, dreams, and plans. The experts say to write these down, share them with others, etc. Of course, we don’t reach every single milestone or dream, but you will reach many and get close to others. Being close to a dream is far better than being in a nightmare.