The stinky planArticle added by Rodney Ballance on November 4, 2011
Rodney Ballance

Rodney Ballance

Branson, MO

Joined: September 22, 2011

How many people will never realize the retirement results they had hoped for because they couldn’t go back and undo strategies they put into place earlier?

As financial professionals we’ve all heard that people don’t plan to fail, they simply fail to plan. This story is a perfect example of the type of nightmare that can result from not having a plan in place before you actually need it.

Last night, just before bed time, I let my 6-year-old yellow lab out for the last time of the day. He always stays relatively close during this routine, and I bring him back in and go to bed. Last night started out differently in that I saw him pick up the scent of something.

We recently moved to a rural area where we have access to hundreds of acres of woodland and lake front property. Chester has never been used to this much room to roam, and certainly hasn’t experienced the variety of animals that frequent our surroundings.

As he tracked the animal, I could tell his excitement level was rising beyond his ability to reason and hear me calling him back to the house. He was busy living for the moment with no regard for what dangers he may be facing in the very near future.

Isn’t this how many people go through life? They are living for the now with no regard for dangers that lie ahead, and certainly not planning for them.

There I was in my pajamas in the back yard, calling for my dog which had run off after some little woodland creature. All of a sudden I hear him yelping and crying somewhere off to the east. As I’m driving off to find him in my truck, he returned with his head hung low as if to say “I’m so sorry. I didn’t know what I was doing. Can you help me?”

You might understand if you’d ever caught a whiff of a pole cat, also known as a skunk. He had tracked all too well one of these stinky creatures, and suffered the wrath of its protective measures. Oh how he did stink!

The bigger problem here isn’t that my dog got sprayed by a skunk, but that I wasn’t prepared for such an ordeal. I had never been around skunks, or ever been taught how to deal with a situation like this before. I was somewhere I had never been, and just wasn’t prepared to deal with it.

Many people find themselves in a similar situation, but much more challenging when that situation is a poorly planned retirement.

Because I didn’t know what to do, I broke out the dishwashing liquid, took him out to the driveway and began washing him off. I washed him three times, but the stink continued. I went in to my computer and learned that there were several experts who recommended the same strategy. There were testimonials from people who had successfully used this strategy and realized fantastic results.

Unfortunately the strategy started with a specific mixture of some household items that you should place on the dog’s fur while he was still dry. Since my dog was certainly not dry, I couldn’t use the proven strategy which would have provided the results I was hoping for.

How many people will never realize the retirement results they had hoped for because they couldn’t go back and undo strategies they put into place earlier?

Because I didn’t anticipate the need for a plan and my lack of knowledge about how to accomplish my desired results, I was helpless to accomplish my goals for the evening, bringing my dog back in the house and going to bed.

I’ve learned my lesson, and fortunately can plan for future incidents with my dog. I’ll now ask questions and listen to stories from others in our area to learn what other scenarios I should plan for. I will seek the guidance from a local veterinarian on some other issues we may face, and items we may want to keep handy to deal with other unexpected situations that may arise in the future. We will be prepared in the future because I will seek and follow the guidance of a professional.

When we’re dealing with financial issues and helping people achieve their financial goals, do we plan for the unknown? Do we warn them of potential problems? Do we show them ways to deal with or avoid those problems altogether? If we aren’t helping them take a proactive approach to finance (what I call financial leadership), we’re leaving them at the mercy of a potentially harmful future.

Let’s work to offer competent strategies for people. Remember that when we don’t design and implement a sweet plan for our clients, they end up with whatever stinky situation that lies ahead for them.

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