People rarely come looking for a financial plan, but most leave with one, but what has this got to do with the musical ‘West Side Story’?
Inspired by Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet, ‘West Side Story’ was set in 1950’s New York by writer Arthur Laurents. But it is something Leonard Bernstein said that provides a link to financial planning.
Bernstein you may recall composed the music for ‘West Side Story’ – Stephen Sondheim wrote the lyrics, and Jerome Robbins directed and choreographed the original stage musical.
What Leonard Bernstein said was this: “To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time”. And when you stop to think about it, he’s right. In fact he’s quite profound, and here’s why:
Consider retirement planning. I’ve found very few people in their twenties and thirties who are concerned about retirement. To them it’s seems a long way into the future, and so there’s plenty of time to sort it out. But for people aged fifty or more it’s a different story. Retirement is so close they can almost touch it. From a financial perspective there’s so little time to sort it out, and if they could turn the clock back they would.
When we’re young we believe we have all the time in the world, so things tend not to get done. Even as we get older we become distracted by the ‘here and now’, and our minds wander to more interesting things. The problem with us humans is that we don’t normally think very far ahead.
So when people come to see us, it’s because they want to get something done that’s bothering them now. Invariably it’s sorting out a pension problem or getting some investment advice. But pensions and investments aren’t the ‘great things’ people want to achieve, so it’s little wonder there’s limited enthusiasm about it.
The great things people want to achieve can often be summed up as attaining financial independence. Of course most people don’t talk about their goals and aspirations as ‘financial independence’ that’s financial planner language. People simply want enough money to choose what they want to do. It could be to retire and then travel, it could be to work for less money but doing something they love. These are things worth planning for.
There’s enough evidence to prove that in any endeavor a well thought out plan significantly increases the likelihood of a successful outcome. Our experience supports this. Financial planning provides clarity to make informed decisions, and also provides the basis for an investment strategy that helps avoid the boom and bust of the next investment bubble.
Financial Planning sits at the heart of everything we do for our clients. It’s the map that shows them how they are going to get from where they are, to where they want to get to.