Preparing for the Voyage
From September to December every year, yachtsmen gather in the Canary Islands, awaiting the right trade winds, allowing them to begin their epic voyage across the Atlantic.
Destination; The islands of the Caribbean.
As the crew are busily stocking the yachts with supplies to last them on their three-week voyage, the skipper concentrates on the passage plan. Equipped with compass, dividers and chart plotter, he or she is responsible for ensuring they reach their goal – the islands of the Caribbean. The best course is carefully planned.
Along the chartered route, at various intervals, the skipper inserts essential reference points called Waypoints. These markers ensure the yacht is still on course to reach its destination and act as strategic points that direct it around navigational dangers.
Waypoints avert surprises and ensure the crew don’t wait until day 21 to discover that there is no land in sight.
With the sails set, and the trade winds from the east, crews set sail on their 2,700 nautical mile journey. All things going well, they should reach the Caribbean in about 21 days without any adjustment to their course.
However, the probability is they will encounter unforeseen events of some kind along the way; equipment may break or an Atlantic storm may blow up. Either way, the yacht may drift off course. The chart plotter will clearly show the error of the course. The Waypoint will identify just how far off course they have gone, and the skipper and crew will re-evaluate the course, and make the necessary adjustments.
Knowing your Destinations
Life is just like this. Our starting point is where we are now, and our destination is where we want to be in five, ten or twenty years time. But, we can’t know our destination unless we recognise what exactly are our goals, dreams and aspirations. Once we have done a certain amount of soul-searching, and established what it is we want out of life, and when, then we can set about planning our life journey. But, we also need Waypoints; points along the way where we stop and take stock to ensure we are on track.
What surprises me most in my role as Financial Planner is when I ask a client what these goals are, very often they don’t know the answer. In the case of a married couple, though they may be blissfully happily married, they are surprised to discover that they each want different things. That’s ok, if both know and can plan for their goals.
Take for example a couple we recently met, let’s call them Joan and Martin. Both are in their 50’s, and together for nearly 15 years. Joan runs her own business and Martin is in the medical sector. They asked to meet us to discuss how best to invest €200,000 Martin had recently inherited from his parents’ estate.
Their first question to us was “Where should we invest?”. They expected us to launch into a spiel on the different investment products they should consider, and were more than a little surprised to be asked instead “What goals in your life would you love this money help you achieve?”
There was a long pause while each looked to the other. It transpired Joan actually wanted to expand her business with a long term view. Martin wanted to move to a house closer to the city, and was quite definite about retiring in the next five years.
Happily, through our comprehensive financial planning process, we examined their goals in greater detail, and prepared with them a comprehensive cash flow, tax ,retirement and investment strategy.
We helped then to devise their plan, provided a route to follow and they are now on track to achieve their combined individual goals. A review every year will ensure that they stay on track .
Their plan is not a rigid strait jacket but rather it has been designed to achieve their goals whilst ensuring they can maintain the lifestyle that they want in the meantime.
Life is not a dress rehearsal and whilst achieving their future goals is important to them, so too is enjoying the journey life has ahead of them.
Life is a Journey
So, what makes you happy? Where do you want to be in 10 years’ time? How is money important to you? Are you an entrepreneur itching to set up your own business? Or are you wasting time counting down the years to your retirement? Have you a dream of buying that house by the sea? Or an ambition to go back to university to get the degree you never go the opportunity to complete? The list is endless, but it is YOUR list.
To go through life without identifying your goals could be compared to a yacht drifting aimlessly in the ocean.
The Importance of Waypoint Financial Planning to Your Journey
At Waypoint Financial Planning we are uniquely positioned to help you identify and achieve your goals, while you get on with your life. We have the blend of professional skills to offer a personal approach and bespoke solutions. All our advisers are Certified Financial Planners with experience in taxation, business consultancy, investing, retirement planning and banking.
Your job is to decide upon your goals; our job will be to help you achieve them while enjoying life along the way.