How to Create Your Future

Posted by: Joseph Kuo | February 25, 2022

Our decisions always take us somewhere. So in order to go somewhere meaningful, our decision making process should have a destination-—a vision—in mind.

In our busy lives, we get comfortable and we focus on solving the myriad of problems we face every day. As a result, we generally don’t get the chance to think about where we’re heading, or even consider that there could be something different and better than what we have now.

In a way, this behavior is like jumping into our car, starting the engine, and then just letting the car coast in cruise without steering or even knowing where we’re going. For all we know, the car could just drift in circles in the parking lot or awkwardly bump up against another car.

Focusing to Create Your Future

Regardless of whether we are aware of it, our decisions always take us somewhere. So in order to get that car out of the parking lot and go somewhere meaningful, our decision making process should have a destination-—a vision—in mind.

Sometimes we don’t know specifically what we want. We don’t need to be too specific right now though. We just need to start heading in the right direction. What do we like, and what do we not like? If we can start by answering these two basic questions, then we’ll be well on our way.

Once we’re clear we’re heading somewhere, we’ll have much greater clarity. Financial planning helps give us that clarity. When I made the decision to give up my high paying corporate job and start my own financial planning practice, I consulted with my own financial advisor first.

The first conversation we had was about why I wanted to make a change. I told my advisor that I wanted to make a more direct personal impact. I wanted to use my financial knowledge and experience to bring joy and meaning to people and families, as opposed to just helping a corporation improve its financial results.

The next step was the what. Going through that process, it became very clear that the best way to fulfill this goal was to leave and start my own financial planning practice.

Only then did we get into the how of adjusting my personal finances to make it happen. This overall process not only helped me to set my personal vision and get started, but it also would help develop my own personal approach to financial planning.

Use Your Wealth With Your Family

We might have an idea of what we want, but then change our minds. That’s actually okay, as we’ll keep getting new information that lets us refine the things that we want.

Take the example of Jack, an engineering manager and client of mine who found himself a multi-millionaire after his company went IPO. Great, he thought, I can retire by age 50 and then enjoy my wealth. So we created a spending and investment plan to adjust his financial trajectory to meet that personal vision..

However, as he and his wife welcomed their second and third kids, he realized that he now wanted a larger house with a backyard. With housing prices as they were in his area, could he still afford both the larger home and the early retirement, or would he have to delay his retirement? Which then begged the question: Do we really need to lock a large down payment into our home with a large monthly payment? Or go with a smaller home but have more money left over? Could I work a little longer to get both?

Both of these directions lead to distinct outcomes. In the first scenario, the larger house would cost more in the short term, but should have greater value in the long run. Jack (or his kids, if they eventually inherited it) wouldn’t realize that value until the house was sold, perhaps decades down the line. In the second situation, Jack could take the money saved and spend it on his family. Postponing his retirement might let him afford both options, but would leave him with less time to spend with his family.

Ultimately, the takeaway here is: is your vision to use your wealth for family happiness and well-being now, or to leave more wealth and long term security to your family in the distant future?

Be Ready For Life’s Uncertainties

Debbie and Benjamin, an older couple with grown kids, came to me unsure on whether they could retire. As I worked with the couple to uncover their values and goals, it became clear that it was not a question of whether they could retire, but whether they wanted to retire. Ben had a difficult time thinking about retired life. Working was part of his identity and he really enjoyed developing and mentoring the younger attorneys at his law firm. With this information in mind, we developed a vision and then a plan where Ben and Debbie would retire in a few years, but Ben would then still work part time focusing specifically on mentoring and development. The additional work would enable wider travel plans for them in retirement, including a vacation home near their favorite beach.

But then a major health emergency forced them to change their plan and quickly pivot to adapt to their new situation. If their vision hadn’t already been in place, they would have been scrambling to make major decisions about their future while also dealing with the emergency.

Oftentimes, we don’t start thinking about what we want out of life until a major life crisis forces us to do so. If we wait until that point to start figuring out our priorities, our choices will be much more limited and will have to be made hastily, making an already stressful situation potentially overwhelming.

Check Now to Start Creating Your Future

In a previous article, we talked about taking a step back to make sure that the personal rules that we had followed in the past are still applicable once we’ve achieved success and wealth. Doing such a “sanity check” actually serves two purposes. In addition to validating our personal rules, such a check will help us start thinking about our future and clarifying our vision to create our future.

Once we make that check, It’s possible that “keep doing what we’re doing” might turn out to be the answer to getting us to our vision. Even if that turns out to be the result, we now know that we’re doing it with a purpose and direction.

Ultimately, developing a vision will help us greatly in the long run. With a clear vision in place, we can confidently live our daily lives knowing that what we’re doing, and the decisions we make, are taking us on our desired journey through life towards a happy and meaningful future.

To get started on creating your future, contact me by email at joseph@abundancewp.com, or schedule a meeting by clicking the button below.

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