Polaroid Financial Plans vs Home Movie Planning

Today, let’s talk about polaroid pictures versus home movies.

While these days, pretty much everything is digital (and has been for a while), you likely still remember those big, clunky polaroid cameras that spit out a physical photo right after you took a shot.

You can still buy them today, in fact.

And maybe you remember, or even have a collection of old – or not so old – home movies.

Maybe they’re on film reels, or VHS, or these days, on your phone.

Maybe you’re in them. Or your parents. Or their parents.

Maybe it’s your kids. Or grandkids. Or great grandkids.

Whether we’re talking about a polaroid photo or a home movie, they each serve a purpose.

They each help us capture a moment, or moments, in time.

Sorta like the much-loved “carousel” scene from Mad Men.

And while a polaroid is literally a snapshot in time, a movie captures motion. It reflects action. It shows us life unfolding before our eyes.

Guess what?

A financial plan is a polaroid.

Your financial plan is a polaroid.

It’s a snapshot in time.

It’s shows us what we see right now. Nothing more.

Ongoing financial planning is more akin to a home movie.

It’s a process. It’s ongoing. It’s action-oriented.

Now, being action-oriented doesn’t mean “taking action” is always the best thing to do.

But, it does mean – to me, at least – that you don’t have to feel helpless or wonder if things will be OK with your retirement or your life.

With all the craziness we’ve seen and experienced in recent weeks, I’d ask you a question or two…

Are you making decisions based on a financial polaroid?

Or are you an active, engaged participant in your very own financial home movie?

Are you making decisions today based off a financial plan that was created months or years ago?

Or are you updating your financial plan to reflect what we now know right now?

And more importantly, do you have a process to regularly review, update and adjust your financial plan going forward, regardless of the environment we find ourselves in?

Movies are simply moving pictures.

They’re a series of still photos strung together in quick sequence to reflect motion, action and life.

And so is your financial plan, but if – and only if – you’re engaged in the ongoing process of financial planning.

Financial planning – like a movie – is a series of ongoing snapshots in time.

A month ago, your financial plan might have looked different than it does today. Or that it might look in month from now.

The challenge – and opportunity – with your financial plan is to not let it grow old and out of date. Instead, think of it like an opportunity to capture, on a regular basis, what’s going on in your life, in the lives of those you care about, in the market, with the economy, with your health, your work, and anything else that might impact your life and lifestyle — today and into the future.

I’m not suggesting that you’ll ever want to sit down with family and friends and reminisce as you review past versions of your financial plan.

But just like polaroids or home movies, past snapshots of your financial plan might prove to be valued memories in the future as we reflect back on the events surrounding March, 2020.

If you’re overdue to create your own financial plan, or you need to update the plan you already have in place, let me know if I can help.

I’m available for video meetings or phone calls whenever you want to discuss things.

Thanks for reading. While you’re here, be sure to sign up for my weekly email newsletter where I share tips, advice, and stories about the intersection of money and our lives. Just click here to join the community.

Russ Thornton
Russ Thornton
Hi there! I'm Russ, and I help women in their 50s and 60s achieve and maintain their desired lifestyle leading up to and throughout their retirement years. Imagine being able to look forward to a comfortable and confident financial future...
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