Plan, Invest, Live…
For this episode we’ll be talking about planning. Not practice, as the famous Allen Iverson talked about “Practice? We (are) talking about practice?” Planning is hard. But it’s worth it. That’s probably the greatest understatement of my life right there…Planning is hard, but it’s worth it. I think saying, “Those pickles are good” was a pretty big understatement. I am referring to the most amazing pickles on the planet from Kitchen Kettle Village in Lancaster, PA from our 2011 family roadtrip/food-cation. Get the Perfect Pickle Chips when you are there, or order them online here (shop.kitchenkettle.com/product/perfect-pickle-chips/pickles)…you will thank me later. If you are pregnant and order cases of them you’ll still thank me, but your husband may not.
Sorry for the pickle distraction…I was writing about planning before my brain went “SQUIRREL!” I hope that happens to you as much as it happens to me.
I happen to be married to the greatest planner that ever lived. Her name is Michelle. She likes to bless peoples socks off, and often without them knowing it was her. I have learned that whatever she does, she does well…but it requires planning. Planning opens the door to a greater possible outcome.
Looking back, my life is so much richer because of her. I know she’s beautiful, brilliant, and she cares deeply for the people in her life. When they are hurting, it does something to her. She can’t help it. She dives headlong into the pain with them. When they are happy about some great thing in their life, she knows how to help them celebrate the milestone. She is a treasure. How did I get so lucky? She should have been a doctor (and I still see her doing that some day). She’s a perfectionist, and if not for event deadlines I don’t know that she would ever be satisfied with something. If she decides to go that healthcare route, she’ll likely be overwhelmed with hospital after hospital around the world begging her to come and help their patients. Her meticulous understanding of medicine and health and the root cause of things is amazing to me. She wants to help people get better, and her planning nature kicks in and starts laying the foundation of change.
She’s also resourceful. She would make McGuyver say “Wow, I would have never thought of that solution.”
She knows how to execute a strategy. She can see the end from the beginning, (see Habit #2 “Begin with the end in mind”, from Stephen Covey’s book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) and she can quickly decipher the necessary steps in between. She makes it look easy, but it isn’t. We talk about it frequently. Every detail matters. I know having her as a live-in consultant will be so good for me, yet frustrating for her I’m sure. She is my biggest cheer leader, and I often need to remember that when she is giving me suggestions.
So how does she do it? And how do we apply that skill?
In the investment world that I live in, planning is crucial. Investing requires planning. That is why I want to know everything about my clients, so that I can help them plan better. I want to know the personal items and how they think. What is important to them? Is it career? Family? Making a difference? I want to know why they are doing what they are doing. Why are they working that career? How did they meet their spouse? What are their hobbies? It is likely that none of these items involves any math, numbers, or dollar signs. However, we’ll need to crunch some numbers as well. What if we crunch the numbers in the plan quarter after quarter for a few years and we realize that you can retire 2 years sooner, or 5 years sooner and still make it work? What is that time worth to you?
If we are going to “start with the end in mind”, and the things my clients want to do later (retire in Maui, Ride the Rockies cycling event, or play with the grandkids) require health, time and cash or cash-flow to do it, I need to know the math too. How much do they have saved today (point A on the map)? And how much is being added (contributions they are making or additions from their company matching or other savings). How much will Social Security give them when the time comes? What about for their spouse? What if they take it at age 62 and get a lesser amount, how does that impact the plan? What if they have a lot of longevity in their family and they decide to wait until age 70 to turn it on and get a much larger amount?
So now the question comes to you…Have you run that math yet? Do you know how much you’ll receive each month at this point? Your spouse will have their own numbers, and I would encourage you to pull them so that you will have an idea. Remember, your spouse will get the higher of a) their own Social Security or b) ½ of yours. I have found that most people do not know this. Go to the Social Security website (www.ssa.gov) and then scroll down to the calculator and run through the questions to get your updated numbers. Then go to visionaryplanningandinvestment.com/contact and schedule a time to look at those numbers with me. This will help us better PLAN for what other assets we need to have in place to meet the goals you have.
Let’s do this so that you can take more trips around the world and find out if those Perfect Pickle Chips really are the best.