Willie Nelson may have said it best when he wrote, “On the road again, I just can’t wait to be on the road again.” As summer approaches, and we are all (hopefully) able to travel again, I cannot help but think of all the places I would like to see. With small children, we keep our trips simple these days, but as they grow, I hope to share with them the adventure of a more extended road trip.
The Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, New York City, and so many others. In many ways, a road trip or travel to any destination is not much different than a financial plan.
Lewis Carroll said, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” BUT, if you have a destination in mind, you probably have a general idea of the path you will take to get there. The destination is our ultimate goal, while frequently, we do not give much thought to the critical stops along the way that keep us moving. These pauses keep us on the right track and avoid trouble down the road.
As your advisors, we also like to check-in. These “stops” typically fall into one of three categories:
- Rest Stops. These stops are important breaks. You can stretch your legs a bit, get a snack or some coffee, sign the guest book, and get back on the road. There are times along your financial path where things are going smoothly, and when we review your plan, no flashing lights are indicating a problem. Still, it is important to deliberately pause and make sure nothing has changed. It also offers the opportunity to check your map (or GPS) and make sure you are still on the right course.
- Gas and Food Stops. These stops are critical breaks. If you do not stop and get gas for your car, you may run out and be stuck on the side of the road. If you do not stop and eat, you may get “hangry.” In other words, something needs to happen at this stop. You may be within a few years of retirement, with changes that need to be made to your portfolio. You may have welcomed a child, hence requiring adjustments in multiple areas. These meetings are crucial steppingstones, building on each other as we work towards the ultimate goal – your destination.
- The Unexpected Stop. Most likely, you have had the misfortune of sitting on the interstate for hours, pondering the cause. Is this traffic due to construction or an unfortunate wreck? Hopefully, you have also had the pleasure of taking an unexpected detour, resulting in a scenic view or perhaps a random roadside attraction. In financial terms, these are the surprises that cause you to stop and pause. It may be a worldwide pandemic that halts us for weeks, a change in careers, or an inheritance. These stand-stills require a careful evaluation of your financial plan. As with a wreck (or any stock market volatility), you may simply need to hold tight and wait. At other times, a different route may be necessary to help you reach your goal.
- During these check-ins, we will evaluate your position, providing the information necessary to help you continue your path.
There is nothing quite like the feeling of arriving at your destination, having successfully navigated your journey to get you there. At Bridgeworth, we are here to be your guide, to let you know when you are on track to arrive at your destination, and when a course correction may be necessary. If you are not sure which direction you are headed, please contact us.