by Derrik Hubbard | FTMDaily Guest Writer VALENCIA, CALIFORNIA, July 21
Imagine this scenario: You notice a group of construction workers beginning work on a new house down the street. As a person knowledgeable in home building yourself, you drive by slowly each day, monitoring their progress. From your expert perspective, things seem a bit haphazard. The construction workers seem to be wandering around and very little real work is getting done.
One day you decide to get out of your car and do some investigating work. As you monitor the situation from the sidelines, the foreman happens to see you out of the corner of his eye and meanders over to you, drinking a cup of coffee. As you dialogue, you ask the innocent question, “So where are the blueprints you’re working off of?”
He seems a bit stumped, “Blueprints?” he responds. “We like to wing these kinds of projects.”
You have an incredulous look on your face.
“In fact, do you know how much money and time we saved without having to hire an architect?” Funny picture, I know. But is it really that different from how we operate in our “financial house building”? Whether it is a lack of time, money, or interest, we seem to like to “wing it” when it comes to our financial future.
Maybe a blueprint is in order?
Fortunately, we don’t have to have the intellect and expertise of an architect to take steps to blueprint the kind of financial future that we want. It really takes just a short amount of time to key into the “desires of our heart” (Psalm 37:4). It begins with financial goals.
Consider your short and long term goals in these key areas:
- Charitable Giving
- Lifestyle Desires
- Debt Reduction and Elimination
- Retirement and Financial Independence
- Major Family Needs
- Starting a Business
As you look over the categories, write down your initial thoughts. Remember that the architect, in designing his blueprints, is very exact. He is not vague about his measurements. Your financial goals should have the same specificity and they should include, at the least, the amount you need and the timeframe for accumulating the money.
A fuzzy goal would be to help your child with their college education. A specific goal would be to provide $10,000 in today’s dollars for each of their four years, beginning on July 1st, 2015. Follow this process for all the goal areas mentioned. It goes without saying that this process is done as husband and wife if you are married.
Now the difference between the expert architect and most of us is that the architect, with his knowledge and experience has a good idea of how to layout all his desired rooms and dimensions so that they all fit together into the final product. Putting a wish list of all of our goals on paper does not guarantee that they are achievable or that they will “fit” within our current financial situation. But at least it is the beginning of meaningful planning.
Consider the value of accountability in this process. It is too easy to put our desires on paper and forget about them. Involving a trusted friend, associate, or professional in the process can make a big difference between a dream and a desire fulfilled. Ask the people that you know and respect for referrals to quality people who can help to get from where you are to where you’d like to be.
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Derrik Hubbard is a guest writer for FTMDaily.com. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and a member of our Christian Financial Advisor Network (CFAN). His company, The Stewardship Solution, is a fee-based financial planning and investment advisory firm that integrates biblical principles of financial wisdom to help his clients align their money with their values to achieve what matters most. You can correspond with him at firstname.lastname@example.org.