Why bother planning money?

Written and accurate as at: 20 November 2010

To some of us, planning for the future comes naturally. These “natural born planners” can’t understand how other people survive without planning.

Then there are the others, who really don’t like to plan and prefer a life of spontaneity believing that life will just work out. For the people that don’t like planning around money, it may be that they don’t like the concept of planning anything, or they don’t know much about money so this makes it difficult to plan in the first place.

Importantly, there are also a large number of individuals and couples that avoid and resist planning because looking at their finances is just too scary. If this is you, taking a deep breath and looking into the financial fear is important, as this is the only way to rectify such an uncomfortable situation.

If you do have future financial goals, such as, retirement, buying a house, paying off your mortgage or buying a car or boat, then planning can certainly help achieve such goals in a timely and effective way. In regards to money, the benefit of planning is highlighted when looking at compounding. You can read more about compounding in the Cashflow and Compounding learning module.

If you start early, you have a greater ability to influence your future financial position. If you leave it late (like 6 months before you retire) it might be too late to make a significant difference to your financial position. In other words, a plan needs time to provide the larger and more significant returns, but just because it takes time, it doesn’t mean it is not working.

Interestingly, planning forms part of our every day lives. We most likely live in a residence that someone planned and then built. We drive in a car that was planned and then built. If we want to get to work on time, we will have a plan or strategy of how to do that – if you have been doing it for a while, it just comes naturally. It won’t work if you have to be at work at 9am and you get out of bed at 8.55am – you could always then ‘plan’ the excuse!

Your financial position can significantly influence your quality of life. A bit of planning can make a big difference.

Many Australians have a lack of financial planning and organisation. A recent study found that 78% of respondents felt like their finances were disorganised. If this is you, are you comfortable with this?

If so, so be it, but if not, why not start to put some order around your finances. You could begin with completing the Budget Planner Calculator or at least consider how you may like your future ‘financial life’ to look.

The only way to work out whether you are going to meet any longer term goals is to review where you are currently, articulate where you want to go from a financial perspective, and then plan the bit in the middle.

Whether you are a natural born planner or not, most people feel a bit better with some rhyme and reason to their personal financial affairs.

Who knows what you could achieve with a little bit of focus and planning?