Adapt Your Financial Goals

in Personal Finance, Plan

When I started working at BNR and then Nortel there was always a “goal” for the company, and one of the most interesting goals was Vision 2000. This goal was that Nortel was going to be the #1 Telephone equipment sales company in the world, and (I think) Nortel achieved that Goal, however, by the time that 2000 rolled around, the Goal no Longer mattered. The business of selling phone switches was circumvented by the Internet and Wireless phones and how all this worked together.

This is why it is very important that you set your Financial Goals, but you also every once in a while do a “sanity check” on the Goals themselves to measure whether they are still relevant.

Changing Plans

Always have a Plan B

Say you had children and you had a plan with RESPs and such, but then your child was diagnosed with a disability? Suddenly your goals may no longer be relevant, however, you can change them and react to the change in life that has happened to your child and to your financial plan. This happened to me, although I am not quite sure what my financial plan was then, it now includes an RDSP and saving for my child’s future as a disabled Canadian.

If you suddenly got a windfall of money from an inheritance or a bonus, it is obvious that your plans are no longer up to snuff (unless you planned for that, in which case, good planning!). When you end up “in the money”, don’t just squander it and then have to make up other plans (like what to do when you are out of bankruptcy), rethink and re-jig your plans or expand your goals.

If one of your goals was to have $2 Million saved for your retirement by age 55 (a good goal, in my opinion), however, over time you have also built up a substantial amount of discretionary debt, which will not be paid off by the time you reach age 55, your retirement savings Goal is now irrelevant. If you reach your goal of having $2 Million in savings, yet you are carrying $300,000 in mortgage and debt by that age, your goal has not really been achieved has it? Stop saving, kill the debt and then get back to your plan.

All plans need to be tended often to ensure you are chasing the right brass ring, or ensuring that the brass ring is still there and that you still want to have it.

{ 3 comments }

  • Peter February 5, 2014, 7:36 AM

    Doing a sanity check once in a while can help make your financial goals realistic. One good example is checking your loan documents and making sure that your were not victimized by the misleading Payment Protection Insurance appended to your loan.

    Reply
  • Robert_M February 3, 2014, 4:25 PM

    Ah, this brings back memories. I remember Ben Schmidt’s comment on Vision 2000: 2000 parking spaces in 2000. Scary on how close he was…..

    I like to re-evaluate my vision once a year, usually early in the New Year. It is time for reflection and action. I look at my financial returns once a quarter and that is sufficient for a year end projection.

    I think you also need a ‘plan’ to get there. Lot’s of people have goals but no ice how to achieve them.

    Just my 2 cents…. cheers, rob…

    Reply
  • Bet Crooks February 3, 2014, 10:42 AM

    It’s probably a good idea to revise your goals if your income improves, too. It’s much easier to save $10 000 a year if you’re making $85 000 a year than if you’re making $45 000 a year. Yet somehow some people don’t revise their savings goals upwards when they start taking more money home.

    If it’s possible to lie to yourself about your increased earnings and stay spending at the level you were at with your former income and save the rest, that 2 000 000 at 55 (or 65) becomes much more achievable.

    Reply

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