It’s Never Too Late to Plan

by on February 22, 2012

It’s Never Too Late to Plan

One of the things I really enjoy about my profession is that I get to meet so many different people.  I find it inspirational how they each reached the current point in their life.  I was recently talking to a prospective client who had lost his job three months ago.  He was definitely a successful individual who had a great deal of which to be proud.  He and his wife had raised three terrific children.  Two of those children were near completion of their studies and ready to move forward with their initial career choices.  The couple had done an excellent job of preparing financially for their future.  And, although he acknowledged seeing signs of his chosen career retrenching, as technology was beginning to overtake what he and his colleagues had been hired to do for years, he also admitted that he kept putting off how he might deal with that fact.  In fact he said to me that he likely should have planned ten years ago to address the situation that he is facing at present in relation to his career.

While it is ideal to think we can always plan ahead to address every eventuality, that is not always possible.  The unexpected has a way of happening.  Even if it does not happen, as was the case with my prospect, he focused his efforts on those things that were most important to him at that time, which definitely centered on making the best life possible for his family (which he succeeded in doing very well).  One thing I quickly pointed out during our conversation was that – even though he had not necessarily planned ahead ten years ago as to what he might want to be doing career wise at this point in his life – it is never too late to plan. Often that advice is given to those who have put off financial planning.  However, the same holds true with those going through lifestyle and career changes.

My prospect happened to be in his early 50’s.  As I pointed out to him, unlike the previous generations, those of the current Baby Boomer generation have every reason to have expectations that are based on their being active in whatever pursuits call to them for another 25 to 30 years.  Will those pursuits be done exactly the way that they had been done the previous 30 years of their life?  Possibly they will be, but all the likely possibly not?  Your desires change, your needs change and frankly what you are able to offer changes.   For example, the gentleman to whom I was speaking had a great background in economics and the financial trading industry.  As we spoke he acknowledged he had plenty to share and give back to the next generation.  He even commented that others had indicated to him that he had the makeup to be a good teacher.  There was even a part of his career he had spent in training new entrants into his specialty.

Sometimes we stop and realize we’re at a crossroads and need to take the time to assess where to go next.  Other times, life circumstances, (a loss of a job, a loss of a loved one, an unexpected illness, etc.), put those situations in front of us.  After allowing yourself some time to possibly lament about your circumstances, take the first positive step forward and build that plan that is going to put you on the path for what is next in your life.  Planning often works best by first taking the time to do assessment.  There are two assessment tools from my Five O’Clock Club certification studies that I share with clients and prospects all the time.  While they’re often used in terms of moving forward with a job search, they also have a great deal of application in moving forward one’s life.  Whether you choose to use the assessments to which I am most attracted, or others that are out there, the key is taking the time to first assess your strengths, desires and that which motivates you, to aid you in the development of your plan.

So, when you catch yourself using phrases such as “I should have”, “I could have” or “I would have”, let them go and ask yourself instead, “Why not now?”  Take the time where you are at present to set your plan.  Remember it is never too late to plan.  There will always be a “what’s next” in your life.  At least allow yourself to have a say in how you choose to approach it.

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