Is Your Financial Plan on Autopilot?

Is Your Financial Plan on Autopilot?

Every Tuesday I drive into downtown Chicago to consult at Metropolitan Capital Bank.  I park in the same garage, on the same floor every time so I don’t risk forgetting where I parked my car.  The other day I got into the elevator on the 6th floor and pushed the 1st floor button as I do each Tuesday and the elevator doors closed.  The woman next to me said “Do you think the elevator is broken?”  I had no idea that we weren’t moving.  I’m not sure how much time had passed with the elevator doors closed before she said something to me.  I smiled and said to the woman, “I wonder how long I would have stayed in the elevator before I realized that we weren’t moving.”

At that moment, it hit me.  How often to do I go through life not being present?  Do I automatically do what I think I should be doing (pushing the button) and then mentally move on to my baseline of mental chatter? I think I’m doing what I should be doing—going through all the right moves—yet I am unconscious.

This story has ramifications for the way we approach our finances.

In what ways are you going through the right motions with your finances, but not really paying attention? Did you set your allocation for your retirement plan at work and then never look at the account again? Maybe you got your estate plan completed—but that was ten years ago, and you haven’t pulled the documents out of the envelope you received from your attorney since you got them.  What about your longer term goals—are you still working off a plan that brings you joy and excitement?

Setting up systems for your financial plan (such as an automatic savings plan) can help you easily and quickly reach your goals.  Just make certain that you stay aware and awake and regularly check that you are actually moving in the direction you desire.


Ellen Rogin, CPA and CFP®, is the President of Strategic Financial Designs, a life and wealth advisory firm in Northfield, Illinois.  Ellen is co-author of the book, Great with Money: The Women’s Guide to Prosperity.

© 2010 Ellen Rogin     (847) 716-7792


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