MONEY matters

Mark Zaifman's thoughts on money, global economic trends and politics

Why Waiting for the Perfect Time to Develop a Financial Plan is Risky Business

Mark Zaifman   |    Tue, Nov 19, 2019 @ 11:08 AM


Have you ever said to yourself, when X happens, I’ll do Y? In other words, you’re waiting for the stars to align in your favor and then you’ll decide to do what you’ve been putting off for a long time?

In terms of financial planning, my sense is that too many people are waiting for the 'perfect' time to develop a comprehensive financial plan instead of moving forward when life, although not perfect, is pretty darn good. I would suggest that waiting for the perfect time is not only a risky decision to make, it could also end up costing you big time over the long run.

Take for example the stock market crash in 2009. Many investors were so spooked that they went 100% into cash. Many said to themselves, once things seem and feel better, I’ll get back into the market. Many investors, more than you can imagine, are still waiting for the ‘perfect’ time to get back into the market.

And what’s happened since the Dow hit a low of approximately 6600 in March of 2009? The stock market has more than quadrupled in value since then. Was it considered risky to put your nest egg into cash back then? No way, that seemed like a smart and prudent move, right? But how much have you lost by keeping your money in cash and waiting for the perfect time to get back in? A lot.

Letting Perfect Be the Enemy of Good

Waiting for external circumstances to change before you do what’s needed is placing yourself in the weakest position possible. Why? Because in essence, you’re giving your power away to something you have zero control over.

Here are a few of the most common reasons people put off developing a financial plan. Some reasons you do have control over, others, not so much.

-I’m waiting for the stock market to dip to some magical number

-I’m waiting for the economy to get better

-I’m waiting until I have a new better paying job

-I’m waiting for the right person to come along

-I’m waiting until I have x amount saved up

-I’m waiting until my credit cards are paid off

-I’m waiting until I receive my inheritance

-I’m waiting until my kids are in college

-I’m waiting until my mortgage is paid off

-I’m waiting for the results of the 2020 election

I could probably add another 10 reasons at least as to why you can convince yourself that waiting for something to happened, whether you can control the outcome or not, will stop you in your tracks in terms of moving forward on your to-do list, on something you already know is vital to your long-term financial wellness, not to mention your peace of mind.

Remember, whatever happens out in the world, you have the ability and capacity to control your destiny. You are in charge. We are given the gift of imagination, so use your imagination, dare greatly and realize that you and you alone are the director of this movie called ‘Your Life”. Stop waiting for the perfect time and realize that right now, right this moment, is the perfect time to take control of your life and get your financial house in order once and for all.

And always keep in mind, as the saying goes: You can’t control the wind, but you have the unique power to adjust your sails. Happy sailing…

Image credit Fevi