Let’s understand where we are going with all this fluff ….

Let’s understand where we are going with all this fluff ….

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“For all its uncertainty, we cannot flee the future” Barbara Jordan Click here to read more

The concepts of Life Planning are so simple that, they almost seem common sense – especially to those who have been subjected to the academic rigors of medicine, software engineering or the more exotic stuff like pure math, etc.

Benjamin Graham made it clear that, intelligence in investing has nothing to do with IQ or SAT scores. It simply means, according to him being patient, disciplined and eager to learn; you must be able to harness your emotions and think for yourself – which he said is a trait more of character than of the brain.

What the master says is so very applicable to holistic life planning because, more than anything else, what matters is do we have the character to very patiently focus on developing a vision for our life and then carry it through.

Well it’s time to pull off the gloves.

The making of a Life Plan can make serious demands on your time, require some serious introspection, documentation and more importantly, test your perseverance in applying everything what may seem common sense.

Don’t be alarmed if I told you that, your Life Plan could take as much as half a year to complete.

Do go back to familiarize yourself with Dr Covey’s Habits 1, 2 & 3 Click here for Dr. Covey’s 7 Habits

It was long ago when as a management trainee, I was shown how almost any kind of “planning” could begin with the following 3 questions:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to get to?
  • How will we get there?

I will use this old common sensible framework to flesh out the life planning process so that, we can understand it at a basic level.

Where are we now?

  • This involves taking a 360-degree review of our life.
  • This is where we examine the financial, material and aspirational aspects of our life. Of course, our ability to change the course of our life will normally be limited by our resources and commitments in life. This is when we can examine the possibilities.
  • In the case of those starting off in life, they have the luxury of changing course through new education or vocational training to say start a side business to supplement income.
  • Financially, we should list our assets & liabilities; list our income & expenditure and finally document our cash flow position.

Where do we want to get to?

  • In simple terms, this involves setting goals for us to achieve at different stages in our life
  • Our goals should address our needs, including aspirational.
  • Our goals have to be well articulated and documented with a target date.
  • We also need a monetary value for the goal; as of now and on its target date.

How will I get there?

  • Where will I get the resources to achieve my goals?
  • We cannot be building castles in the air and our resources have to be from a reliable and legitimate income stream.
  • At the same time, mere saving will not be enough to put up the resources required; unless these accumulations are invested well.

Whilst we wind down ourselves through the above maze, we will be forced to go off stream, to familiarize ourselves with concepts in investing, understanding the nature of risk and mutual funds, asset allocation.

I will provide you with simple formats to guide you through the process of Life-Planning and its documentation. We will agree on the frequency when each of the elements in our plan can be reviewed and adapted to reality.

Finally, just as the proof of the pudding is in its eating; that in life planning is in its articulation, documentation, execution, follow up with perseverance and patience.

SO, IF YOU CANNOT SET ASIDE SOME “ME-TIME” FOR THE EFFORT INVOLVED TAKE THE NEAREST FIRE EXIT

However, before you do please stop for a moment and think about what Warren Buffet has to say

“Invest in as much of yourself as you can, you are your own biggest asset by far”.

Which is the reason why I am a great believer in the “do it yourself” route to life planning – because no one can know you  and protect your interests better than yourself .

Of course, we can try and keep it simple but not necessarily simplistic.

 


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