A commonly known quote says that the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.  In the course of financial planning, I do my best to help people financially plan for the unexpected.  Market fluctuations, future medical expenses, inflationary issues,  or a variety of other factors can affect a well-plotted financial future.

I use incredibly detailed and sophisticated software programs that allow me to track and graph potential scenarios for my clients.  And yet, no one knows God’s plan, so I always allow margins for unexpected factors.  Although we can’t account for every unexpected event, these margins can help so that an unforeseen event doesn’t jeopardize the financial success of retirement.

At a recent church sermon I attended, the pastor spoke about how important margins are in life.  It was an incredible message about not being too busy to let God work in your life and touch others.  Very inspiring and true words.  And yet, recently I’ve let myself get incredibly busy and scheduled to nearly maximum capacity.  I think it’s understandable since we’ve gone straight from a very busy tax season, directly to our new location renovation and move.  In addition to that, I’ve been assisting many new financial planning clients, I also presented during Money Smart Week and I’m a featured speaker at the upcoming McLean County Senior Living Seminar.  Of course, there is the daily normal workload too!

One of those regular obligations that I take very seriously is continued community outreach and financial education.  I’m very proud of our monthly Retirement & Financial Focus series that hosts prominent McLean County professionals, advising on their retirement and/or financial areas of expertise.  We had been very diligent about releasing a quality program every month, that is dependent upon a scheduled video shoot day and then a few weeks of production before the release date.  It’s been very smooth and we were even ahead of schedule heading into tax season to account for that busy schedule.  And then disaster struck!

The middle of May, we had our video shoot day.  After our ‘studio set up’ and a few takes for the following months' production, we had captured what I felt was an incredible episode that we were excited to share.  After a full morning of the shooting, I was mentally exhausted, but I had a strong sense of accomplishment as we sent the video file off to production for editing.  And then, it was shortly after that I found out the bad news.  Due to a technical error, there was NO SOUND on the entire taping!

So, obviously, after dealing with the blow that our time was wasted and we didn’t have the incredible episode, we realized that the entire program must be videotaped again from scratch!  And here’s where we come to my point of the story.  We literally did not have an opening for a morning or afternoon that we could do a re-take of the episode.  We were booked without an available opening for weeks!  By not leaving enough margin in our schedule our entire plan for releasing quality educational content was set back possibly two months!

Although the video error wasn’t my fault, I’m still feeling a little convicted.  This is because although the video error was out of my control, I could have had a backup plan.  At the same time, it reinforces my conviction to help my clients have those financial margins for life events that aren’t foreseen.  A good retirement plan should account for a myriad of possibilities.  There most probably will be circumstances that will be beyond a person’s control, and no one can be faulted for that.  What is irresponsible, is not having a plan and not allowing for margins within a plan for the unknown.  Although this lesson cost me a few months of scheduled video content, it’s hardly the same level of risk as a derailed retirement plan.

Moving forward, I’m planning on leaving more ‘margins’ in my time and prioritizing my important tasks to avert a disaster.  Likewise, I would implore those that have perhaps been negligent in their planning or perhaps haven’t accounted for margins within their plan to make it a priority for the sake of their future.  For those that need to set their plan in motion, or are just curious to learn more about the margins I’d recommend, please don’t hesitate to call.  After all, I’ve just put more margins in my calendar and I can find a time to meet you!

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