What Are You Waiting For?
Several months ago, I started thinking about starting a blog to build a resource for educating and informing people so they have can make smart financial decisions about their financial and retirement planning. Essentially, I want to take my financial planning background and use it to help people create what we call “True Wealth.” I have to be honest, though. I’ve sat around for months, hesitating about starting the blog. Instead of writing, I’ve spent my time trying to pick the perfect subject for my first post.
I found myself doing the exact same thing today. This time, though, I realized that my hesitation was the perfect topic. I was making the same mistake so many of my financial planning clients make.
I was suffering from analysis paralysis. It was hurting my ability to create a blog just as it hurts the retirement planning efforts of so many people, I talk to on a day-to-day basis.
Analysis paralysis occurs when we know that we need to take action, but we’re so scared of making the wrong move that we don’t do anything. We keep searching for the perfect option and even if we find it, we don’t realize it. We just sit there and wait, and that can kill a blog just like it can hurt your chances to create True wealth and live the retirement you deserve.
I find people suffering from analysis paralysis in three different ways. Let’s take a closer look, and as you read along, ask yourself if your lack of action is hurting your financial and retirement planning needs.
I can’t begin to tell you how many clients come to me and say they’ve been thinking about financial planning for months or even years but keep putting off. They have all kinds of excuses. Life got in the way or they’re too scared that they’ll do something wrong. Then, some are afraid that their financial advisor will think they don’t know what they’re talking about, and that will embarrass them.
Think of it this way. If everyone was a financial planning expert, I’d be out of a job. Many of my clients are incredibly smart people and know things that I wouldn’t even begin to grasp. However, most people aren’t fully confident or knowledgeable regarding personal finances or retirement plans and everything involved to keep them on track. That’s why you need someone like me. Just like I couldn’t go to your job and outperform you, I don’t expect you to come to mine and outperform me. That’s what I’m here for, and I’m happy to help. If you’ve yet to engage a financial advisor, make a point to contact one soon. For many of you (not all) your financial future depends on it.
Fear of Making Decisions
Many people also have a fear of making decisions. This normally occurs when there’s a recommendation within their plan that’s different than what they’ve done before. They can see the benefit of taking that action, but they’re afraid of making the wrong decision. They can pour over the data and think of all the potential outcomes, but without the benefit of a crystal ball, they are too afraid to pull the trigger and act. That fear causes them to hesitate, and often, it means they miss out on a great opportunity to solidify their financial future.
I was listing to “The Rational Reminder” podcast, and they were reading a letter that was written by a surgeon about his decision-making process. He made a great point that all we can do is make the best decision with the information that we have available at the time. When we look back on that decision in the future, we can’t beat ourselves up if things don’t go as planned. Instead, we need to judge our decisions based on how and why we made them at the time. Did we incorporate the information that was available to us, or did we make a decision based on a feeling? As long as we make good decisions based on what we know as opposed to all the noise in the world, we can be at peace.
Remember, fear is an emotion, and inaction is a decision. If you choose not to act out of fear, you are making a decision based on emotion instead of reason.
I also see a lot of complacency with financial planning. You can see complacency in all areas of life, but as far as financial planning goes, I normally see it when I get new clients who have transferred from another firm. When they finally come to me, they tell me they were unhappy with their financial adviser for years. Even though they weren’t happy, they stuck around because they didn’t know if the service they were getting was normal. Would it be the same if they went to another financial advisor? Would it just be a waste of time?
After moving, they realized that their complacency kept them stuck in a situation where they weren’t happy, and they deserve better. Far too many financial planners act like salespeople. They want to sell, sell, sell, instead of giving you real advice that will help you solidify your financial future. You deserve a financial planner that provides advice and helps you grow your wealth.
Being complacent regarding your finances is extremely dangerous. Yes, life happens, and changing advisors can be a hassle, but are you willing to mortgage your financial future?
Don’t Get Stuck in Inaction
I understand how frightening action can be. I was having trouble taking action writing a blog post. That’s small compared to financial and retirement planning. However, because financial and retirement planning are so important, getting stuck and failing to act is more dangerous. You can put your financial future at risk when you fail to act.
I honestly believe that any action is almost always better than no action at all when it comes to retirement. You need to have a plan and know where you’re headed. You must know the actions you need to take to stay on track and take them as needed. If you veer off course, you need to step in quickly without fear (TIP: having a plan in place ahead of time, with clear rules on how to course correct given different situations will make it much easier to know what to do when the time comes).
There will always be unknown in every aspect of life, including financial planning. Still, you can make decisions based on the information available. You cannot let a lack of confidence stop you from taking the action that will allow you to live your best life. Whether you are stuck in a bad relationship or have yet to hire a financial planner because you are too embarrassed, now is the time to take action.
What are you waiting for?
Take Action: Ask yourself, what is one thing you have been putting off despite knowing how important it is? What is the first small step you need to take to build momentum? When are you going to take that step?
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