Thanks for taking a few minutes to read Telos Financial’s blog. The Planning for Your Purpose blog is all about different financial planning topics. The purpose of the blog is to discuss financial concepts that I believe are important. I want to start discussions about that will educate, benefit, and improve your financial life. Ultimately, to help you focus on your telos!

2019 is upon us and it’s a great time to set out some financial items you can accomplish during the year. Amidst the New Year’s resolutions, you should add some financial related items as well. This blog is three suggestions I think you can tackle this year.

I recently saw a statistic that 94% of millennials will make a financial resolution for 2019. That’s amazing. Frankly, I’ve never made a new year’s resolution, but good for you if you do and it works for you.

Your financial to dos will vary based on where you are in life, with debt, goals, and savings. The application of my recommendations will have to be applied differently for everyone depending on these items. These are meant to help give you a place to start if you feel overwhelmed with choices.

Let’s Roll!

The first item I recommend is work on your financial goals. You probably plan on retiring someday, maybe having kids, paying for college, buying a boat, paying down debt; whatever your goals are, I recommend giving specifics to them and prioritizing them. The second item I recommend is take your goals and put them to use by crafting a financial plan. Whether you do a calculation yourself or work with a professional, you should make sure your goals are realistic and are achievable, a financial plan will give you that information. The last financial resolution I recommend for 2019 is begin implementing.

  1. Create Concrete Financial Goals:

Why is this important? Well, first of all, it helps give you purpose or telos. What’s telos? It’s your raison d’etre. It’s why you do what you do. What’s the point of working? Saving to your 401k? Trying to get rich? I hope not. That’s not really fulfilling. Why do we do the things we do? Hopefully, like me, you derive joy from your work, but you also need to make money doing it to be able to live and do the non work activities you want to do.

You need to sit down and think about why you work. Where are you trying to go? If you’re just working because you went to college and that’s what’s next, I’d recommend thinking about where you want to be in 5, 10, and 25 years. Do you want to retire early? Do you want to pay for school for your kids? Do you want to sail around the world? I’ve met quite a few people whose goal is to buy an RV and drive around the country. What is exciting to you?

Some common goals are (early) retirement, paying off debt (whether it be mortgage, student loans, or other), quitting a soul crushing job to be able to do work you love (that doesn’t pay), paying for college for your kids, paying for weddings for kids, buying a boat or car or watch, I can go on and on, but these are personal and you should know what’s important to you.

Don’t feel bad if you struggle with this. Your goals will probably change over time. The point in creating them is to set a target so you know where you’re driving. It’s okay to change them, because that gets you started AND MORE IMPORTANTLY gets you thinking longer term.

2, Put your goals into a financial plan and develop your path there:

Yep, I’m going to pound the podium more on this. Having a financial plan will benefit your financial life.

Whether you create a financial plan yourself using free resources like Telos’ blog or utilize an educated, experienced, certified financial planning professional like Dennis LaVoy, it’s a worthwhile exercise. It will take time, I spend hours scrubbing data and working with clients when I create a plan for them.

It might not work, your plan might crash. Maybe your goals are unrealistic, maybe you need to tweak. By going through the financial planning process, you’ll know. You might be well on your way, but you don’t know if you don’t do the plan.

  1. Last, IMPLEMENT!:

Creating a plan is great and is one of the first steps. Financial planning covers a lot of areas. Insurance, risk management, tax planning, investment management, investment location, investment allocation, savings, cash flow, budgeting, estate planning, wills, trusts, powers of attorneys, beneficiaries, I can go on and on and on. The point is, there’s a lot to do after creating your financial plan.

How do you eat an elephant? (Well, you don’t, because that’s terrible. But, for sake of an old timey saying. . .) you do it one bite at a time. Same goes for financial planning – I recommend walking through it one piece at a time. You certainly can do it all at once, but there’s a lot to do and it probably makes it easier to do one piece at a time. Perhaps you create a to do list and check one piece off every month. It might take you a couple years to go through every item, but you’ll be better off for it.

Conclusion

Don’t eat elephants. They’re intelligent beings with feelings.

Take action today to improve your financial life. The majority of folks can take steps to help improve their financial position. Whether you’re well on your way to retirement or just getting started. Having more information is always helpful and making a financial plan does just that, provides usable information on where you stand and where do you want to be.

Telos Financial is a Michigan’s financial advisor for high income and wealthy young professionals, Millennials, Generation Xers, & Xennials. It is a fee based, holistic financial planning firm based in Plymouth, Michigan. Dennis LaVoy,CFP®, CLU® founded Telos in his tenth year as an advisor and uses his experience, knowledge, and expertise to help families and individuals around Metro Detroit, Ann Arbor, and across the country achieve their financial objectives by following their individualized plan.