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When Your Financial Dreams Get in the Way of Your Financial Goals

By Trilogy Financial
July 2, 2019
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Words are power, and each word has its own weight and energy. Words have inspired people to stand up for what they believe in or hang their head down in defeat. Therefore, choosing the right words to describe that which you want to manifest is very important.

For example, when speaking of aspirations for the future, there are those who use the words dreams and goals interchangeably. However, they ae distinctively different in definition and performance. A dream is boundless, fueled by your passion and imagination. However, it is akin to fantasy, with no immediate call to bring it to life. When someone tells me they dream of owning a sports car or starting their own business, I know most of the work to make that dream a reality hasn’t taken place and probably won’t for the foreseeable future.

A goal, on the other hand, is the mapwork to that dream, concrete and behavior-driven. When you have a goal, you have markers, measurements and steps to get to the destination. Setting the right goals, especially when it pertains to financial goals, can have a significant effect on how and when you achieve them. In fact, a guide to good goal-setting has long been to make it S.M.A.R.T.1:

Specific: if we are truly making a map towards our goals, telling ourselves to go in a general direction or for an undefined distance is most likely only going to get us lost. Steps towards our dreams have to be detailed and specific.

Measurable: When a goal is measurable, there is a way to track your progress to stay motivated or identify issues that may need problem-solving.

Attainable: It is admirable to be striving for something grand and lofty. However, it’s imperative that we have feasible goals that we can accomplish to keep us motivated and actually accomplish said goal.

Relevant: Having impressive goals are fine and dandy, but if they don’t move you closer to your overall goals or work against other goals you may have, it may be time to rethink them.

Time Bound: Once something has been stated as a goal, the stop watch has started. There is an expectation of completion, which is necessary to keep us moving forward towards that goal. It may not get completed in the expected timeframe, but just by having a deadline, we can stay accountable.

Based on this description of a S.M.A.R.T., you can see that there is a difference between, “I’m going to start saving money for a house,” and “I’m going to put 15% of my paycheck into a savings account specifically designated for my eventual down payment, and I should have enough saved after 3 years.” One expresses a desire while the other one lays out a concrete plan to achieve the goal.

If one seems to be fueling the other, how can a dream inhibit a goal? Well, one way is when your lifestyle fits with your dream rather than your goals. To achieve many financial goals like saving for retirement or buying a home, one needs to save and stick to a budget. However, if you fail to save and incrementally work towards the goals, it will take longer and longer to see results. Worse is if you choose to skip the incremental steps and live your dreamer’s lifestyle by using credit cards. The debt you accumulate will take you farther and farther from your goals and possible put you in an unfortunate and stressful predicament.

Sometimes when we haven’t developed a goal for a dream, it’s vagueness can work against an already established goal. Perhaps a good friend asks you to go into business with them. If you choose to pour funds into this new endeavor without any parameters, you may find yourself taking funds away from saving for retirement or depleting savings you already had. Of course, if you had outlined your goal on how to contribute to your friend’s business, with specific and timely parameters, the situation could be completely different.

Please understand that I’m not asking you to stop dreaming. In fact, quite the opposite. I happen wake up every day saying, “Dream Big! Work Hard! Laugh often!” I sign letters and thank you notes and end employee meetings with those very words. Dreaming is important.

So please know I want you to dream big and bold. At the same time, I want you to buckle down and create some S.M.A.R.T. goals to propel you closer to your dreams.

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/smart-goals.htm

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

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By
David McDonough
September 5, 2023

Navigating the intricacies of life insurance can be a daunting task, but at Trilogy Financial, we believe that understanding the basics is crucial in making informed financial decisions. Life insurance, in essence, provides a straightforward solution to a complex question: How can your family be financially safeguarded if the unexpected were to happen to you? Whether it's covering immediate expenses, sustaining a business, or planning for future needs like education and retirement, life insurance offers a safety net. At Trilogy, we're committed to simplifying the complexities of life insurance, empowering you to make choices that secure your loved one's financial well-being.

What is life insurance?

Life insurance is actually a simple answer to a difficult question: How will my loved ones manage financially if I were to die? If anyone depends on your income or the unpaid work you do, they would most likely struggle if you were to pass away. Life insurance pays cash—also known as a death benefit—to your loved ones when you die. It replaces your income and the many non-paid ways you support your household. Your family can use this cash to help pay for immediate and ongoing expenses like funeral costs, daily expenses, a mortgage or rent, and keep a business afloat. It can also be used for future expenses like college tuition, retirement and more.

How much does life insurance cost?

The good news is, life insurance may be less expensive than you think. The cost depends on four main factors: your age, your health, the type of policy and how much coverage you buy. In general, you’ll pay less the younger and healthier you are. To put the price in perspective, a healthy 30-year-old may be able to buy a $250,000 20-year level term policy for about $13 a month.1 That means if you purchase that policy and pay the $13 a month without fail, your loved ones would get $250,000 if you were to die at any point during those 20 years.

What are the different types of insurance?

Life insurance generally falls into two categories:

Term life insurance provides protection for a specific period of time (the “term” is often 10, 20 or 30 years). This makes sense when you need protection for a specific amount of time—for instance, until your kids graduate from college or your mortgage is paid off. Term life insurance typically offers the most amount of coverage for the lowest initial premium, and is a good choice for those on a tighter budget.

Permanent life insurance provides lifelong protection for as long as you pay the premiums. It also provides “living benefits” like the ability to accumulate cash value on a tax-deferred basis, which you can tap into to help buy a home, cover an emergency expense and more. Because of these additional benefits, initial premiums are higher than what you’d pay for a term life insurance policy with the same amount of coverage.

Sometimes getting a combination of term and permanent insurance is the best answer.

How much life insurance do I need?

The amount of life insurance to buy depends on who you want to protect financially and for how long. As a very general rule of thumb, experts recommend having life insurance that equals between 10 to 15 times your gross income. But you may need more or less than that. An easy way to get a working idea of how much you need is to use an online Life Insurance Needs Calculator.

 

Download this comprehensive blog as a concise one-page here: What You Need To Know About Life Insurance

Or click here to watch a short video.

By
Jeff Motske, CFP®
December 7, 2018

Giving to charitable causes can be a very emotional thing. You’re supporting something near to your heart, possibly with a deep personal connection. However, if you’re not mindful, it is possible to give at the expense of yourself. Be sure you don’t let your heartstrings control your purse strings.

Forethought and planning should extend over all your financial decisions, including charitable giving. For a variety of reasons, many don’t follow a plan. Some give whatever’s left in their budget, perhaps not as much as they’d like or tempting them to give more than they can afford. Others give at the end of the year for the tax break. Alternatively, perhaps charitable giving isn’t planned for at all, which allows one to be swayed by emotion when the right cause comes along. Suddenly, they can be committing based on what they feel rather than what’s best for their finances.

Once you decide to factor your charitable giving into your annual financial plan, you can start doing your research. Not only do you determine which causes you want to support, but you can also investigate various organizations that service that cause. There are many websites that evaluate charitable organizations to ensure that your financial contributions or going where you want. Additionally, having your charitable giving worked into your financial plan allows you to turn down other charitable requests graciously. Should you be approached, you can mention your annual giving plan and that you will consider them for the following year.

Being mindful about your charitable giving also gives you the opportunity to influence your children or loved ones on how to do the same. Your actions become the example to your values. While you needn’t share all the details, you can openly share how you formulated your plan and why. The more people who become aware of how to consciously create an annual giving plan, the more people are actively working towards their financial independence.

I don’t think it’s possible to take all emotion out of your connection to a charitable cause, and I don’t think you should. However, I will always be an advocate of folks proactively working towards their financial independence. The key to that is approaching your finances with reason and logic, relegating our emotions to the backseat and holding firm to your purse strings.

Get Started on Your Financial Life Plan Today