Financial priorities keep changing

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Today’s column is about you, how you contend with the challenges of financial success that are inherent in who you are, and what affects your changing values over time.

One part of financial success as with other kinds of success relates to the programming of our brain with respect to how our priorities evolve over time.

A favorite expression of mine is “if you are not a socialist at age 20 you are a fool”. If you still are one at 40 you are a greater fool. This likely change in values over twenty years is a reflection of your changing priorities. Life as a 20 year old is significantly different compared to life two decades later.

As another saying I have is “a capitalist is a socialist with two children”. Suddenly life’s financial responsibilities refocus your thoughts and beliefs on capitalism and your need to provide your family with the necessities of life.

That in no way diminishes your earlier belief system, but it does reflect upon how your life has evolved over time. That is natural and should be expected.

Life costs money so being able to generate enough cash flow to afford your lifestyle is a natural progression. You are aware that life is an evolution. Something that did not seem important at one stage suddenly becomes most important now.

Understanding the natural evolution of priorities is a good starting point for planning your financial future. It is critical to plan ahead. Of course it is normal to get caught up in life’s immediate daily priorities, but life tends to move quickly. Before you know it you will be at a different stage with different priorities.

Your children will be ready to pursue a post-secondary education. You will retire and then suddenly worry about whether or not your cash flow will be sufficient. More important, where will that cash flow come from?

As the expression goes “the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today “. Accept that your life will evolve and your financial needs will evolve as well. Try not to be stuck in just today and anticipate tomorrow.

Planning for your future life events takes time. If you don’t you plan you will most likely not be successful. In a perfect world you would have already planned. Congratulations if that is the case. If not, start today.

Approach your own personal planning with the proper perspective. It’s not about the money. It is about life’s priorities. What you do now to plan for the future is to enable you to achieve what is most important.

It is always difficult to see how your life might evolve. Consider how teenagers transition during those most critical years from childhood into adulthood and learn from that natural evolution of change.

We all change so our recommendation is to anticipate your life in the decades ahead and plan accordingly. Don’t worry about the future but give a little thought about what is needed to be done now in order to have success later.

Then return to the current stage of life and enjoy every day with the comfort and security knowing that that the future stages of life will be as rewarding.