“Any road can get you there, as long as you don’t know where you are going.” - Lewis Carroll
Anyone who knows me knows that I believe in dreaming big. When I started Trilogy Financial, I had big aspirations of what it would become and to be honest; it has exceeded even those. Having big dreams is great because it allows you to imagine a better future, live with optimism, and have the passion to move past small obstacles. It’s what I’ve done my whole career.
But in my experience coaching financial clients, I’ve seen the danger in dreams too. People who have too often kept their head in the clouds, and not their feet on the ground. For the best of us, the power in big dreams is their ability to push us to act, to take risks, to work hard. That’s how it’s always been for me: Dream Big… Work Hard. Financial dreamers who never put their hand to the plow can often get caught up in wishful thinking. There are a few critical signs of financial wishful thinking that I’ve seen keep people from making real progress which are important to recognize;
- The “Some’s” – Someday, Somehow, Somewhere… they make great song lyrics but not great goals. Anytime I hear a person say “Someday I’m going to…” or “I don’t know what I’m gonna do but somehow…” I know we’re in trouble. The “some’s” keep us from being concrete about our goals and priorities; keep us from making a real investment of emotion, time and energy. A goal needs (as my friend Kevin Mackintosh says) a by-when. Client says, “I’m going to retire someday.” I say, “By when?” And the whole dynamic changes.
- The Blame Game - A goal becomes real when you take personal responsibility. When I ask people why they aren’t tracking their budget or saving 10% or 15% as I’ve advised on my radio show, I often get some well-meaning version of blame. “My husband spends too much money.” “My boss doesn’t pay me what I’m worth.” Both those things may be true, but you can’t do anything about other people’s mistakes! You can do a lot about your own, and so the sooner you own the problem, you can own the solution. Every person can be more pro-active toward their goal if they get all their information organized and take responsibility for moving forward. That’s what our Trilogy Financial Advisors coach toward every day.
- What’s the Money For? – You’d be amazed at how many high net worth people feel unhappy about their financial state or their ability to meet their goals. Many times they’ve been successful in their particular profession, but are not skilled in understanding how to allocate their resources toward their highest priorities. This can cause adverse tax, estate, and investment effects. Whether you’ve got a million dollars or a hundred in your account, the most important question in finance is always the first, “What’s the Money For?”
I love a big dream. I love to see someone shoot for the stars on something that others say can’t be done or perhaps only just years before would have been impossible. You’ve got to know where you’re headed. But a dream without a “by-when” a dream where someone else is on the hook for it other than you, a dream with no clear financial strategy attached is just wishful thinking. Sure there’ll be some learning along the way, but that’s part of the fun of shooting for your high goals. As I always say, “Dream Big! Work Hard!” And then when things don’t go your way, “Laugh Often!” There’s always something to learn on the road to financial independence.