The classical Latin phrase Quo Vadis means “where are you going?” In tradition, the phrase describes the words between Jesus and Peter passing each other on the road outside Rome. This phrase also represents the primary focus of financial planning. Your priorities set the course for the direction you take…towards your destination.
“Hand In Hand”
Regardless of the level of financial resources, priorities are the main drivers of a coherent financial plan. Priorities obviously imply less of one thing as a tradeoff for more of another. That fundamental construct is not appealing to many investors and some spend their entire life trying to obviate this reality. Financial planning or personal economics is all about tradeoffs…all about choices. All resources, including money, are finite.
The necessary first step in the planning process is indeed to articulate what you want and where you want to go. Remember, life and money are intertwined and need to work together. Some examples of financial life objectives might be things like:
- Stewardship of Your Existing Financial Resources – this includes proper management of investments for future needs. A cohesive portfolio structure including components for capital protection, stocks and diversifiers. Also, management of human capital-your ability to earn and save money for your long-term objectives.
- Achieving and Maintaining Financial Independence – Most individuals don’t want to be dependent upon their family or others for their long-term financial needs. Mapping out a plan and then modifying and monitoring the plan is key. One note…becoming financially independent will very likely take more money, perhaps much more, than you expect.
- Maintaining Your Lifestyle – With few exceptions, continuing current lifestyle for the remainder of life is a key priority. Since this timeframe can be decades, you have to be aware of and plan for inflation. That is, the value of a dollar today will be more, perhaps much more, than the value 10 or 20 years in the future. The essence of personal financial planning is focused on Quo Vadis. Are you happy with the direction you are heading financially? Ready for a real conversation?