There is a classic saying that comes from one of our favourite characters, Yoda, in the Star Wars series. The wise old Jedi Master says to Luke Skywalker: do or do not; there is no try. In other words: fully commit, or be prepared to fail. We actually love this saying, because in many ways it can be adapted to our financial mindset, too; and the idea of fully committing to an action.
When we have meetings with clients, and recommend they take action on something, we usually get one of two responses. Either the client says ‘okay, I’ll do that’ or they say ‘okay, I’ll try.’
So what’s the difference, if in both instances, the clients are agreeing with the plan? A pretty significant one, actually. When people say they will try, they are setting themselves up to fail without realising it. It’s giving their subconscious mind a way out of doing something.
For instance, if we suggest our clients give up something now in order to grow their super fund for later in life, the ones who say ‘okay, I’ll do it’ actually do it. But the ones who say ‘okay, I’ll try’ – well, a large percentage of them won’t make the change. It’s about habits, attitude, and keeping to a plan.
How do we help our clients get around this, and what if it’s too hard to stick to a plan? Most importantly, we make our clients’ goals achievable enough so they’re more likely to say ‘okay, I’ll do it’ in the first place. We make sure that the amount we are asking them to give up each week to invest instead is a sustainable amount.
Sometimes, clients offer to put away more money than we’ve suggested, but in this instance we would tell them to stick to the lower amount as originally discussed and monitor how it goes. It can always be changed in six or twelve months’ time if need be. This will avoid money ‘claustrophobia’ – feeling like there’s not enough left each week to get by. The other reason this is important is because if you are able to maintain putting the same amount away each week over a long period of time, we are easily able to predict where you will be financially in five or ten years’ time. But if the amounts differ with each payment, this can be hard to do.
Sustainability is key. We want to ensure that our clients are able to put away an agreed amount, and keep to that amount in the long-term. Where the client is a couple, we need to ensure that they are both happy with the amount. And then, as always, we work collaboratively with the clients to make an achievable plan.
If you decide you’d like to be a Jedi Master when it comes to your finances, give us a call.
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