If you‘re reading this blog, you’ve at least taken some initiative to learn more about financial planning. Topics abound from setting goals to investment strategies and checklists for just about any area of planning you have an interest in. Whatever the reason for your visit, you’ve likely either done or are contemplating doing some sort of financial planning whether on your own or with the help of an adviser. But let me ask you this…

“What brought you to this point in the first place?” Said another way, what’s motivating you to go down this path?

The best plan in the world does no good if it sits on a shelf, on your computer or on a piece of paper without being implemented. The biggest reason plans fail to be implemented is that you forget your motivation. If you’ve defined your goals effectively, you may think the goals themselves are motivation enough, but they’re not. Take for instance weight-loss goals. How many people make New Year’s resolutions about this only to give up and indulge in that endless chocolate on Valentine’s Day? Is the goal weight alone what motivates someone or is it more than that, such as how they’ll look or increased energy? Or, is it the potential of a greater confidence level? These are just some of the possible motivators of what’s important to someone and why they want to lose the weight. The same applies to financial planning.

Since this blog is about making financial decisions, let’s focus by first answering this question for yourself—what do you value most about your financial health? Maybe it’s freedom, security or maybe it’s something else. Write it down. There is no wrong answer. Now ask yourself what’s important about that to you? Write it down below your first answer. Then ask what’s important about that to you? Repeat the process as many times as you need until you reach an answer that for you is THE most important to you. For example, if the answer is freedom, then answer why freedom is important to you. If you are younger and just getting started on your own, it may be that freedom allows you to not have to borrow from your parents, which may lead to the answer of independence, and so on. You may be surprised by the answers you come up with.

What you now have in front of you is your value set, your motivation and yours alone. It means everything to you. It is why you make the choices you make. These are the things you want to feel and be, to yourself and to the people you care about. This list should be your benchmark for the decisions you make in life. Use it, refer to it, put it on your refrigerator or better yet, tape it to your mirror so it’s the first thing you see every morning. When you feel your focus drifting or you have a tough decision to make, read this list as a reminder of what’s most important to you. Now that is what I call motivation.

Print this page
Find a planner