What could more emblematic of summer than outdoor cooking? Whether you prefer fruit and veggies over grates or hunks of beef over charcoal, the goal is the same: To enjoy the results of well-planned, well-prepared, and well-tended offerings.
So how, exactly, does that equate to financial success, you ask? Simple: the lines of comparison are as clear as the jus from a well-done London Broil.
Building financial success is a process that requires consideration, time, action, adjustment and, ultimately, reaping the rewards of your work. Creating financial success benefits from creativity, drive, resilience, and a focused desired outcome.
Every decision you make and don’t make affects your financial goals.
Let’s get back to the meal in waiting. In the creation of the finished product, you and whoever else is in the equation need to plan out the meal and assess the road to get there. You might have pepper, garlic, onions and mushrooms, but you’re fresh out of olive oil. You have a meal in mind — but nothing is going to happen until you know what’s missing.
In planning for your financial well-being, you need to assess what your current financial situation looks like and examine what might be missing. Who is there to help guide you? Do you have a CPA, CFP®, attorney and other pertinent professionals in your corner? If not, that is where you need to start.
Build your team as you would your spice rack; you might not need every bottle for every recipe, but it’s good to know they’re there when you need them.
Once you have your ingredients, you need to do the prep work. That onion isn’t going to chop itself and that rub isn’t going to rub itself into the meat.
Gathering financial data and knowledge of your current financial situation is the next step. If you’ve been avoiding getting to know the details of your money life, well, you can’t make a guacamole without getting your hands into the avocado. It might be messy, but the outcome is worth it.
Use an automated system to organize your data and collect your tax returns, investment reports, employee benefit statements and insurance policies to begin the planning process with your team. Being organized is crucial for money success.
The cooking process for some is low and slow and for others hot and fast. But whatever your medium, it needs to function properly and be fueled appropriately. Whether you use a propane tank or smoky apple wood chips, it all needs to work as expected and if the grill doesn’t reach optimal heat or the smoker is too hot, you need to make adjustments that will help you get to the desired outcomes.
Life doesn’t always go according to plan; in fact, it rarely does.
Careers get sidetracked, couples get divorced, people die or become disabled, recessions happen. The list goes on and on. If you create your financial success based on the values you hold most dear and have honed your resilience, you and your family will be able to navigate through the unexpected to achieve your prized goals.
Whether you’re cooking a 15-pound brisket on the smoker or shrimp on a hot fire, each food requires the appropriate amount of time in order to reach the desired done-ness. It might take a whole day or 90 seconds. It takes as long as it takes.
The same is true in your financial life. It might take you 10 minutes to set up automatic rebalancing on your 401(k) plan; it might take 2 months to apply for and obtain life insurance, and it might take 30 years to accumulate sufficient resources to retire. It takes as long as it takes.
From conception to serving your meal, you are attentive, focused and carry with you intention and action. It doesn’t happen on its own.
In creating a financial life that is joyful and reflects what you and your family value most, the same intention applies as well. You can move your money life in the right direction with planning, preparation, attention, and action. You don’t have to do it alone; in fact, you shouldn’t. Make your journey a reflection of you; prepared with love, pride, and care.