Have you ever been on a journey where your satellite navigation system or map doesn’t recognise a new road, and believes you are driving through a field? If it’s a road you’ve travelled, it’s not a huge deal. If it’s a road you haven’t travelled before, which way do you go? Is the new road quicker, or does it go in the wrong direction? This can cause a huge problem.
Maps are drawn with the best knowledge available at the time… Sat nav’s are uploaded with the best data available at the time. However, they cannot account for changes in road layouts, a storm blowing a tree down over a road, a bridge collapsing or a multitude of other changes and/or problems that can affect your journey.
The best sat navs are those that update the map and use real time traffic updates. What do they do? They look at the road ahead, they search for new routes, traffic problems and all the other things that can trip you up on your journey.
Even better, what if you had a guide sat next to you, who has taken people like you on the same journey many times? The Sherpa’s on Everest do this exact job. They take climbers up Everest, and back down in the best way they know how. They account for everything including weather, the state of the climbers, supplies, ground conditions, etc. to ensure their group stays alive and accomplishes their goals.
Financial planning can be likened to this…
Your financial plan is designed with the best knowledge available at the time. However as soon as you walk out of that meeting, the financial plan is out of date. It cannot account for all the changes in the economy, the stock market, tax laws, your goals, your situation, etc.
Does that mean it’s useless? Not at all. Financial plans give you an idea of the overall journey and the next step(s) you should take. However, the best financial plans are a living, breathing experience that constantly maps out the route, and then identifies the next best step(s) that you can take to achieve your goals during the journey. Your financial planner is your guide to help you complete your financial journey whilst accomplishing your life goals along the way.
In summary, a map is extremely useful. But an experienced guide is essential in an ever changing landscape.