It had been a long day. My day to get things done started off well. I was full of ambition and up to the task. Two days earlier I had started cutting trees and trimming hedges and as my husband says “went whack-o.” So, laying throughout the front yard were branches and trimmings, and I still had more cutting to do. It was a beautiful day but nothing seemed to go as planned; tools broke, blades had to be sharpened, everything took longer than I thought it would, and an injury had prevented scheduled help from arriving. My husband, home from his long day at work, as he was loading limbs, suggested that maybe I should take smaller bites. He was right. In the future, I will take smaller bites; cut a load, haul a load to keep from making a mess of more work than I can complete in a day.
I have decided to do this in other areas of my life, too. I will break down my big jobs into smaller, manageable tasks. I have heard it said “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at the time!” I will say sometimes moving our mountain has to be done one scoop at a time. We want to speak to the mountain and watch it move. But many times, we have to pray, speak, and scoop to move the mountain. It is that way with financial planning, too.
Financial planning is a mountain of information and decisions. Where you are, where you want to be, and how to get there can seem like climbing a high peak. But if you take small bites or move small scoops at the time, it becomes more manageable. If you try to get all your information together and make all your decisions in one day, you may find yourself exhausted, overwhelmed, and in a mess.
First, take time to think about where you are by gathering information such as assets and liabilities. Assets are anything you own of value including cash value in insurance policies. Liabilities are debts – amount you owe; mortgage, consumer loans, etc.
Second, take time to think about what you enjoy; travel, gardening, hobbies, sports, whacking limbs off all your trees, etc. How do you want to spend your free time?
Third, take time to think about your cash flow; monies coming in and monies going out. Is there a surplus or a deficit? How can you generate more cash flow? How can you enjoy life now with the people you love and plan for the future, too?
I ended my day thinking “Ok, that didn’t work.” It really was too much for me to do in one day. So, I will reschedule my help and, God willing, move more of my mountain, one scoop at the time. If your financial planning is like my pruning and it’s not working, get some help. An experienced financial advisor can help you move your mountain and two scoops are better than one!