“‘If You Want To Make God Laugh, Tell Him Your Plans”
If you have read this blog for any length of time, you know that we highly recommend having a written monthly cash flow plan in addition to having clearly defined personal and financial goals. However, recently a few things in my family have reinforced the need to write these decisions in pencil rather than pen.
Holidays are a common time for you to over/under-estimate things on your cash flow plan. This happened to us in November for Thanksgiving. We knew we were going to travel to each side of our family and that our usual budgeted amount for gasoline was not going to be enough. So for November we upped that amount and lowered our eating out budget. Even with that adjustment, we still underestimated our gasoline needs for the month and had to lower our entertainment and clothing budgets to have enough gasoline in our cars at the end of the month.
Having handwritten goals gives you a guide and a direction in your life, but long-term goals need to be somewhat flexible. From my life experience, I would say that you can really only see at most 3 years out from now. Think about how your life is different from 3 years ago. For me a lot has changed. I got married and my long-term goals are lot different now, then when I was single. Heck, life can change in a hurry in 6 months either due to getting married, relocating to a new area of the country, having children, or even losing your job. However, do not use this as an excuse not to create goals, but realize that life does not always happen the way we plan it.
Re-doing our plans is neither easy nor fun, but is necessary to keep us on track. Remember that life is never static, but fluid. So the sooner you realize that you need to make your financial plans in pencil and use the eraser, instead of putting it in pen, the better your finances will become.
So when have you had to change your plans in pen into a pencil and eraser?