Journal

Procrastination: where there’s a will…

My wife and I are in the final stages of drawing up our Wills, but I must admit I’ve found the process a little frustrating.

Not because of the morbid subject matter (although I did have “something in my eye” when thinking about making provisions for our son).

Neither was it to do with the service from our solicitor, who’s been very professional and patient throughout.

It was more to do with the simple fact that writing a will involves a number of important decisions that require serious thought, weighing up lots of options and even compromises.

We’re very nearly there, but our procrastination has meant it’s taken the best part of three months, which is far longer than we’d expected.

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.  Johan Wolfgang van Goethe

What’s this got to do with financial planning I hear you ask?

As a financial planner, I regularly ask my clients to make important decisions about their finances and, ultimately, their lives.

Understandably some people don’t find this very easy, particularly when the decision relates to something that might only really impact them years down the line, or topics that require them to think about their purpose and mortality.

Whatever the cause of the discomfort, the immediate outcome of having to make challenging decisions can often be procrastination.

Of course, there are skills and planning tools that advisers can employ to help people make decisions with clarity. But I do feel that advisers should make the process even easier for clients by not asking them to be too precise.

Having some understanding of what’s important to you and a rough idea of where you want to end up I believe is good enough when it comes to managing your finances. Or as someone put it to me recently “setting sail and making regular adjustments to your course is far more effective than not leaving the dock at all”.

That’s how I view our wills; they’re not perfect but they’ll do for now. Had we taken that approach from the start, they’d have been in place a lot sooner.

But even more than that, we all know that getting organised, making decisions and taking action feels good.

Ticking-off a long-standing task from the financial to-do list is very satisfying. Making some progress that helps you, your loved ones or causes that are important to you is good for the soul.

So, whether it’s your will, tackling that stack of pension policy paperwork you’ve been ignoring, the investments you suspect aren’t performing or a major life decision with financial consequences; take a deep breath, face it head on and commit to the idea of making some progress rather than achieving perfection.

What financial matters are sitting on your to-do list?

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