Anyone who has been to my office has noticed the unique artwork on my wall – sketches from Carl Richards – simply illustrating complex financial truths. Recently I had an opportunity to visit with Carl about his drawings, and his brand new book, The One Page Financial Plan.
Joe: I love your sketches, and many clients ask about them. So, I have to ask how you come up with your ideas. They are so simple, yet teach profound truths!
Carl: The sketches actually came out of a moment of desperation. I was trying to explain a relatively complex financial concept to someone. The blank stare I was getting made it clear I wasn’t doing a good job, so I drew it. A few Sharpie strokes later and I could see I’d made a connection.
Joe: I enjoyed the pre-release of your new book. The concept of sacrifice and delayed gratification is woven throughout the book. How is sacrifice part of a financial plan?
Carl: Planning for the future, unless we have unlimited resources, is often just about the tradeoffs. We’re continually weighing those tradeoffs. Sometimes we need to say “no” now so, as Stephen Covey says, we have the option of saying a much bigger “yes” in the future.
Joe. That’s so true – by resisting the call of immediate gratification, one is in a better position to do the things that are most important to them. The final section of the book involves finding a “Real Financial Advisor. Why do you think that is so important?
Carl: The reason having a real financial advisor is so important is because they’re not you. So often, financial success is more about behavior than it is about skill. It helps to have an unbiased third party helping you to avoid the big mistake that too many investors make, of buying high and selling low.
Joe: You give some very good, practical advice on saving, investing, goal-setting, etc. Millions of financial plans have been developed similarly, never referenced after the “presentation” of the plan. How do you see a person or family using this one-page financial plan? In other words, why would this plan, though shorter, have an impact when so many other plans have simply sat on a shelf?
Carl: That’s a great question and precisely why I titled the book, The One-Page Financial Plan. It doesn’t alleviate the need for all the other planning, but it gives people a much-needed reference point. I recommend hand-writing the goals to reinforce that the goals can be changed. My goal was to get people to commit to the process of planning rather than the plan itself, because things can change. The one-page plan, however, is the manifestation of that commitment. I want people to feel like they can pull out a new piece of paper as needed and commit to the process of planning.
Consider picking up The One Page Financial Plan to take a fresh look at your own plan. I think you’ll agree that being committed to the process of planning – having intentional conversations about you, your values, and your goals – will enhance your ability to stick with your plan when times get tough. Then call us to walk with you along the way, standing between you and “The Big Mistake.”
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