Want to learn about the importance of financial planning? Go to any bookstore and you will find an endless supply of books about finances or maybe you can Google the term financial planning as the information on the Internet about this subject is limitless. Or click on the TV; there are lots of shows to watch as well.
However, the question seems to be, "Is financial planning enough?"
Maybe there is more to it that just turning over your future to an aggressive or perhaps non-aggressive financial planner or bank employee. I am sure you already know that like any career field, there are reputable, knowledgeable, connected people in the financial services industry and then there are people who don’t have a clue what they are doing.
Unfortunately, financial wellness is a key aspect of overall stress management and most people in the developed parts of the world are taught very young about money and poverty. We grow up believing we won't be happy without enough money.
However, even though we learn early from multiple sources about the need for money and lots of it, we are rarely taught of the importance of financial planning. If, by chance, we are taught about financial planning, we are taught to place this control in the hands of a financial adviser who will sell us mutual funds or some other type of investment vehicle that may or may not be risk free.
Basically, we are taught to live paycheck to paycheck and hope for the best. We are also taught to try to get a job that will give us a pension, to save our money and that the government will look after us once we retire. Regardless of all our best efforts, the vast majority of us are still heading down a path to poverty and fixed incomes, assuming the government hasn't gone belly up by the time we retire. And, all along the way we suffer from extreme financial stress.
The financial world, particularly since 2008, is more unstable and unpredictable than an Atlantic Ocean crossing in the early 1900’s. Anyone remember the Titanic? I don't know about you, but I am going to make sure I have a lifeboat or even better, I am going to get in a position to steer the ship myself so I don't hit any icebergs along the way. I, for one, am not going to overlook the importance of financial planning.
You see, true financial wellness is not just about planning. It is about problem solving, creative thinking and critical thinking. Without these important skills, any financial planning you do would be weak at best. It will never matter how many fundamentals of financial management, financial tips, and financial strategies you read about or hear about if you can’t evaluate what you are learning and apply the information to your life.
And the consequences of being lazy about staying on top of your financial wellness are huge. You don’t have to be rich to solve financial stress; you just have to be knowledgeable and you have to be in control. You have to train yourself to understand the importance of financial planning sooner rather than later.
There are two different types of thinking, of which we human beings seem to be capable and when it comes to the importance of financial planning, some of us use one or the other, but rarely do we use them both. Unfortunately, too many of us use neither.
In the past, when you've thought about the importance of financial planning, perhaps you have tried using critical thinking skills to work through a problem. Many people do this because money can be quite a dry subject and critical thinking tends to be quite a dry process. It seems they are well-matched.
With critical thinking, it's all about being analytical and with it, you try to converge two or more thoughts in a cohesive plan. The thought process is vertical and you concern yourself with probability and good judgment. With critical thinking, you try to be focused and objective. It's all about the power of the left brain and about finding "the" answer. We formulate thoughts that can be described verbally, we are linear, we use reasoning and the question commonly asked seems to be "Yes, but!" In this way, we constantly drill down to better and more detailed solutions to problems.
However, when considering the importance of financial planning or anything to do with our financial wellness, we also have to be diligent in our use of creative thinking. It's the only way to deal with real financial stress. Creative thinking is all about generating ideas, being divergent, thinking laterally or outside the box. It's all about possibility and with creative thinking we suspend judgment. No idea is a bad idea. The goal is to diffuse ideas and spread them out as wide as possible so we can see what else there is. The thinking is subjective. If an answer is found it is "an" answer, rather than "the" answer. We use our right brains, we describe ideas visually. The goal is to be associative and we look for richness and novelty in the ideas presented. The question most commonly asked is "Yes, and!" In this way, we are able to see a much bigger picture and hopefully, get a much better solution to the problem.
When it comes to the importance of financial planning and to achieving total financial wellness, we must be adept at both kinds of thinking, critical and creative.
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