Goal = Guess
Do you get stressed when someone asks you about your goals? Concerned about either not reaching them or not sure what you want? Are you concerned because you’ve hit previous goals and felt unexcited or unfulfilled? Many people experience this, especially for longer-term goals. It’s no different in the financial realm when we’re trying to predict what we’ll need 20, 30, or more years in the future.
Some things I’ve come to believe about goals:
Goals are guesses – it’s our best understanding of the current situation
Goals are flexible – they change when the situation changes
Goals are unique – they should be yours and not someone else’s
Goals are elusive – we often don’t know what we really want so when we achieve a goal, it may not be fulfilling and we start to chase what’s next
We accomplish goals by taking small actions. Big goals help you get out of bed, but they need to be broken down into the next smallest step. This will allow you to see progress and keep you on track.
Let’s bring this back to finances and look at our eventual retirement. It might be 20+ years down the road so you could say why even bother worrying about it?
First, it’ll probably be here sooner than you think. If you have kids, remember how quickly time seems to move as they grow up.
Second, even if you don’t know exactly what retirement will look like, you know you’ll need money to live on. So what can you save or invest today so that your future self is prepared for what they need or want at that point?
If you like this, check out these articles on planning under uncertainty or being less wrong tomorrow.