Feb 27, 2014Intentional Ownership

Are you as easily distracted as I am? What? I’m sorry, I was thinking of something else.

Here at Dunavant Wealth Strategies, I get to work with many different families who are in different places. What I have found consistently is that we are all easily distracted. When I’m distracted, I often take the path of least resistance just to get a task completed.

What has struck me the most over the last 14 years of working with families is how taking the path of least resistance can cost a lot of us longer term financial success.

What do I mean? Well, I’ve studied the principals of having financial success and found that they are pretty consistent. What it ultimately comes down to is that there is a right time and place to consider all areas of your planning. If you get distracted, or get ahead of yourself, there could end up being a setback without you even realizing it.

This really became clear to me when we were building a house with Amor Ministries this summer in Mexico. When we arrived, we were given detailed instructions for building the home. Someone had already poured the foundation, and we spent three days building and finishing the home per the specifications. If we had tried to ignore the instructions we were given, we could have made a huge mess of what became an incredible blessing for the Limon family.

So let’s talk about some real world examples of what I mean by “distracted”:

  • I’ve seen people who have an enormous amount of debt and don’t really follow a budget trying to figure out how to invest a bonus when it really might make more sense to use that money to pay off their debt.
  • I’ve worked with families who are trying to make decisions about college savings while completely ignoring their own retirement needs.
  • I’ve worked with families who have focused on building more wealth in their investments or business without taking the time to determine why they are doing it, or where the ultimate finish line may fall.

As I thought more about this situation, I realized that most of us are so distracted that we don’t take the time to think about these issues. To solve the problems encountered, I’ve borrowed ideas from some of the best minds in finance to guide us.

For simplicity sake, there are three areas you move through during your life. In the beginning, there are Foundations that need to be addressed before you think about moving forward (things like having a budget, getting out of debt and others). The majority of your life will likely be spent in the Wealth building process (including navigating retirement and education planning, taxes and other land mines). Ultimately, you hope to reach your goals and begin focusing on the Legacy you want to leave behind (of which inheritance and charitable planning can play a key role). Many people have gone before you and I’ve seen them navigate these areas well as long as they followed the clear path to their goals. However, those that get distracted or try to alter the path often find themselves exhausted and wondering where they went wrong.

We are going to spend a lot of time unpacking each of these areas going forward and I look forward to sharing my thoughts and findings. If you have immediate questions, give me a call at the office and we can talk about your specific situation. Otherwise, I’ll have more to say as the weeks go by. Have a blessed day.