If you want a plan for your money, get a plan for your life.
A life plan is like a flight plan for an airplane – it gives direction. It is also like a nation’s constitution, expressing the values important to that nation, and building laws to reflect those values.
Once your life plan is in place, your financial plan can then be a natural reflection of your values. Suddenly, it can all “make sense,” since you now can see the bigger picture and the longer term.
Writing a life plan is not a fifteen-minute process. In fact, done properly, it will take you quite a bit of thought and reflection. It may be done over a weekend, or it could take several weeks (a little at a time).
Use the following tips to begin formulating your own life plan:
Step one: define your values. These values are the principles that guide you in your life. If you have never done anything like this, take some time. Don’t rush it. You have certain values and principles that guide you. Work at identifying these and reducing them to writing.
Step Two: express your values. In a fashion that is meaningful to you, write a first draft of the values you identified in step one. Feel free to write a “yucky” first draft, knowing that you will refine it as time goes on.
Some will write nothing anything more prosaic than a punch-list of their values. Others may communicate their mission statement in the form of a poem. Still others may do so in paragraph form. Just remember, the only audience is you, so relax. This is a tool to use, not a piece of artwork to display.
Step Three: live your values. This is where the financial plan finally comes in. Assuming you do not have all the money in the world, you are going to have to make choices. You can’t have everything, so what are your priorities? Your life plan can help you see those.
Also, since we do not have all the money in the world, we can’t have it all now – therefore, we must save and invest to have the things we want. That means we have to do without some things today, so we can have the things we want tomorrow.
Your life plan can help you balance today’s pleasures with tomorrow’s priorities.
If you would like an example of a life plan, contact me via email, phone or mail and I’ll get one to you. My email address is email@example.com.
When NASA launches a satellite into deep space, it doesn’t aim its rocket at the point in space where the planet is NOW. It aims at the place where that planet is going to be. A life plan should be like that – aiming you towards that place you want to be.
So get going! Map out your plan and enjoy the journey!