California, the state I call home, is reopening on June 15th and it's gonna be weird. Going into a store without a mask, going to a baseball game at full capacity, sitting at a barstool...these are foreign concepts to most of us.
A lot of people lost track of their goals during the past year as everything we came to expect as 'normal' was thrown upside down. Now it's time to refocus, are your old priorities still the same? Are you still on the path to meet the same goals?
I discussed this concept with the Wall Street Journal a few months ago. Some people were paralyzed last year, they felt like they were in a holding pattern. While other people were compelled to make decisions such as getting married, moving to a new state, buying a home or selling off their stocks.
Plans change - life plans, financial plans, dinner plans. We have to be flexible while not giving up. When I create a comprehensive financial plan with a client, I tell them that things will change every 2-3 years. Regardless of your age and stage of life, something comes up that causes you to reconsider - maybe it's an illness, a global pandemic or you decide to quit your job. This doesn't mean the whole plan is out the window, it just means it's time to revise.
I used to work in wealth management at well-known investment banks and one thing that confounded me was the certainty with financial plans. The software was designed to provide precise predictions of when you'll buy a new car, when you'll retire, when you'll die. But life doesn't work that way so when I started my business I chose not to use software that could only create charts.
The financial plan I create with my clients is adaptable. The client receives spreadsheets that they can update with new figures as life evolves. I'm always glad to meet with my clients for a regular review or an update but I empower my clients to use these spreadsheets as they age. Add new income, increase or decrease childcare costs, factor in the cost of a medical emergency, take a year off from investing because a global pandemic caused a market correction. These are all parts of our human experience and our financial plans are useless if they don't reflect our reality.