The Dreaded Direct Question

(Please have a glass of water within reach before reading this article.)

Your personal financial planning is the topic of discussion here today, but not quite yet. First I would like to bring your attention to the issue of bragging.

The other day I was carrying on about how well our website was doing on the various search engines. If you typed in financial planning Victoria, or financial planner Victoria, or CFP BC, our site ranked very well on the major search engines. But I was not bragging about this to a dummy. Unfortunately not. Because this person, who shall remain nameless, asked me a very simple question:

“Is it working?”

“Huh?” I thought, feeling like I was suddenly part of a butterfly collection.

“Is it working? Are you getting new clients this way?”

The room was beginning the spin.

“Can I have some wa -wa?” I asked woozily as I crumbled to the floor.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the process of doing things, like optimizing websites for search engines, we lose sight of what standard of measurement we should be using to determine how we’re doing. In my case, I was using how well our website ranked for various search terms, instead of whether we were actually gaining any business from the web. Duh!

This often occurs where peoples’ financial planning is concerned. It is very easy to get stuck in the process of saving money, or managing money, but lose sight of whether or not what you’re doing is actually working to help you achieve your goals. So, if you think about your financial goals, and then think about how you are doing, the same question applies…

“Is it working?”

There are three possible answers to this question and they are: “Yes”, “I don’t know”, and “Can I have some wa –wa?”

Realizing that what you are doing is not working, is not pleasant. Nor is it pleasant to realize the giddy pleasure of progress you thought was your lot, is no more. You may look a bit ridiculous to yourself for a bit, but if you’re like me, that’s nothing new.

So, for example, if your primary financial benchmark is retirement, does it look like you will be able to retire when you want, with the kind of income you need?

“Hey! You okay? Wake up. Here. Drink this.”

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