“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road’ll take you there.” Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
You’ll have happier tomorrows if you start planning today. It’s that simple. The benefit of a plan is as that silly commercial says……PRICELESS!
You start a map with a destination. Are you going to retire early? Are you going to start a new career in your 50s? Are you going to take your grandchildren to college? Do you want to visit a vacation home that allows you to have the best of both worlds, work and play?
Next, you determine how many miles and how much fuel the destination will take. Do you want the grands to have First Class Airfare or Economy Tickets? Tuition and room and board or just tuition? For 3 grands ranging from age newborn to 13, we have a time frame of needing these dollars between the years 2024 and 2037. Define that goal and the time frame, that’s your destination. For example, an economy ticket for your three grandchildren will take approximately $150,000.
Where are you towards meeting this goal, starting at home, or already half way to campus? Do you have money set aside? Or is this a new plan? For a new plan, you would need to save about $700 a month to fund the $150,000 for 3 grands ranging in age from newborn to 13!1
Once you know the numbers, you can determine if this is a priority destination. If this is a have-to trip, you might say, well this is something I feel very strongly about and start investing for gas and lodging! You might say, well this is a lower on our bucket list journey and I’m not willing to commit this much, but I will do something to help them on their way. I’ll set aside $100 gas money a month for each child. But you need to know the distance on the map and how much gas it’s going to take before you determine whether you are going on this trip.
Over the last 30 years, you have come to us to take you to retirement at specific ages, plan the trips for education and weddings, and fun things like vacation homes. We have mapped many different destinations in a financial plan. And we can tell you when we determine the miles, and you follow the map, the dreams become reality.
Some of our strongest career memories are of those who said, we want to be able to arrive at the retirement terminal early. What do we do? And as planners we determined that ticket price, we’ve hesitated to tell you the requirements. But we told you. This trip is so many miles, and it will take this much gas…every single month or every single year. And every time… every single time, when someone followed the map, they reached the destination.
Those who said, well it was only a wish. I’ll just keep working and come back to see you later for an update on available trip costs. The mileage didn’t get better. It got bigger. And while those who decided to wait, went on great trips, splurged on wants and short term wishes….so did those who said this is a have- to destination! The difference in the two scenarios, is commitment to the journey from the moment it became a destination. Those of you who followed the map, put gas in the car, still stopped at some beautiful places on the way.
Or another way to look at this is to remember one of the examples from Rhonda’s teenage-hood. She has always loved to travel. And had great dreams of all the places she wanted to visit. She worked from the age of 15 at various jobs. But mostly her earnings went to buy the latest trends of 70s teenagers. Her cousin on the other hand also dreamed of traveling to faraway destinations. Teresa had a giant pickle jar with a picture of the next dream destination. Every time she baby sat or worked at the mall, some of her paycheck went in the pickle jar as gas money for the next trip. She visited wonderful places and has memories and photographs and stickers on the suitcases. Rhonda can’t find any of her bellbottom jeans or record albums from the same period! Let us help you print the map to turn your dream destinations into reality.
1 The college calculations were estimated using the Capital Group’s College Savings Planner. We used the average public institution cost of $6,069 a year for tuition, with 5% inflation. We assumed an investment would grow at 6%.