Principle #4: Set Your Sights on a Long-Term Plan
The Sound Stewardship Principles™ are at the heart of how we serve. Over the last few months, we’ve been looking at each of these principles in greater detail. Here, we continue in our series, taking a closer look at what we believe leads to financial success.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of having long-term goals but not making any significant movement toward them. When it comes to finances, it’s almost impossible to achieve our goals without a plan. That’s why one of our Sound Stewardship principles is “have a long term plan,” because a goal without a plan is nothing but a wish.
The overlooked first step in long-term planning
We often miss the first step in achieving our goals, which is simply knowing what those goals are. It’s important to take a broad view of what you want in life, together with your family, and prioritize what you want to do and when. Long-term goals can be as simple as being able to take a family vacation in a year or as complex as being prepared for retirement or leaving a legacy for your family, and everything in between. Without knowing what our goals are, we can’t plan for them!
When distractions come, flexibility is key
Life will always present us with distractions from meeting our goals, for better or worse. From a costly emergency or a new opportunity, like an unexpected relocation for a job, our long-term plans can be disrupted, but that doesn’t have to disrupt all of life. When you plan ahead with your finances, it allows you to check distractions against the goals you want to achieve. Having this plan in place allows you to be more decisive about life. If something is going to distract you from achieving your goal, you’ll be prepared to fold it into the plan.
We want to stick to our long term plans, but flexibility is key. At Sound Stewardship, we work with clients to proactively tweak their planning as things come up. Course corrections are good as long as we know where we’re headed.
The Biblical Basis
Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit, as surely as haste leads to poverty.” Going back for thousands of years, God has taught us that being prepared for life is important in stewarding our resources. Hasty decisions may derail our futures, but a foundation of good planning and hard work leads to good things financially, and in life.
Similarly, in chapter 19 of Proverbs, Solomon tells us, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Through prayer and stewardship, we can line up our dreams and plans with God’s will, which will help us to stay on track.
Developing your long-term plan
Once you’ve set out your hopes for the future with the help and agreement of an advisor or your spouse, it’s time to make a plan. I wish I could give you five easy steps to success, but the reality is that your plan depends on your specific priorities and dreams. When I meet with a client, I hear about everything from getting out of debt to vacation dreams to hopes for an early retirement, and then we go from there. I love to ask, “When we’re sitting here three years from today, what would have to happen in order for you to feel good about your progress?” This question helps us work together and build our strategy.
As we look at our long-term plans, we want to assess how God wants us to serve others through our resources over the years, and even after we’re gone from this earth. This unique approach can help us look to the future in a healthy, sustainable way as we seek to make a meaningful impact.
Give us a call at Sound Stewardship, we’d love to get started working with you for your best future.
Read more from the Sound Stewardship team on financial freedom:
- Principle #1: The means to financial freedom
- Principle #2: Avoid debt
- Principle #3: Reserve it for the unexpected
- The Only Way To Get Wealth
- The Least Sexy, Most Important Money Skill