I would like you to think about something. What is your biggest roadblock to being free from financial anxiety and uncertainty? You’re experienced. You’re knowledgeable. You have an idea of what you want and you have occasions where you are very focused on the activities that will get you there. You are mindful of the general sense of what it takes — but what is missing?
My experience tells me that we can always use added discipline in our lives to help us achieve what we need to achieve. I’m not talking about discipline in the sense of when you are bad you get disciplined. I’m talking about focused, continual, daily concentration of a process practiced for days, months, years and decades that will help you toward the successful outcomes you have defined for your life.
As a young man, I found out quickly about the positive effect discipline could have on my character when I had three veteran Marine Corps gunnery sergeants encouraging me without restraint at 0-dark early in the morning that I needed to get my act together.
Later in life, I learned from Buddhist monks that despite all our best and often successful efforts to understand things, you don’t really get anywhere on the path without the correct action and discipline. You can’t just keep your eye on the ball; it takes an extraordinary disciplined effort to move the ball in the right direction consistently over time.
We may actually be very disciplined, but our best-laid plans are often thrown out the window at first contact with daily living. We have so many demands on our lives and unexpected issues with work, family, and friends that it is close to impossible to keep that focus consistent.
All these concepts need to be imported into your mindset with respect to financial success toward and during retirement. If nothing else, the right fiduciary financial advisor with a process in place will bring discipline into your financial formula, which will give you a higher probability of success. That alone, in my opinion, is worth its weight in gold.
Financial success is really having the freedom to live the life you want to live without the worry of running out of income before you pass away. It’s not enough to have a plan that is randomly reviewed from time to time. It’s not enough to let things sit without continuous daily oversight for decades. You need more discipline than that, something a fiduciary, fee-only, CFP® can bring at 0-dark early every day — while you sleep in and enjoy your life.
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