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Baby Steps and the Financial Planning Process

Baby Steps and the Financial Planning Process

April 15, 2024

I have been a fan of Bill Murray since he first replaced Chevy Chase on Saturday Night Live in 1977. From earlier silly movies, such as Meatballs and Caddyshack, to what are now comedy classics, such as Stripes, Ghostbusters, and Groundhog Day, he has always had the ability to make me tune in and laugh. 

One of my all-time favorite Bill Murray movies is the 1991 classic “What About Bob?” Murray plays Bob Wiley, a multi-phobic and unstable patient who follows his psychotherapist, Dr. Leo Marvin, played by Richard Dreyfuss, on his family vacation because he is afraid he won’t be able to survive while he is gone.

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During their first meeting, Dr. Marvin introduces Bob to the concept of “Baby Steps.” The basic premise is that instead of Bob trying to tackle all of his many overwhelming fears at once, he needs to take small, baby steps each day and continue making progress. Even a small positive step in the right direction can be viewed as a victory. For those of you who need a reminder of this classic scene, a YouTube video link is included below.

What About Bob? - Movie Clip

Why am I sharing this with you today? The fact is that many people are struggling and are uncertain of their financial position today. They are often paralyzed and fearful, not knowing what steps to take to improve their financial position or how to move closer to their preferred future.

This is where the financial planning process can be extremely helpful and freeing. The process starts by determining where you are today. This means taking an inventory of your income sources, as well as your assets and liabilities. It also means understanding the benefits that your employer provides. We would typically try to get an inventory of your insurance coverages and estate documents during this initial discovery phase.

Then comes the fun part. You get to share your hopes, dreams, and aspirations for the future. Where would you like to live? What dreams do you have for educating your children or grandchildren? When would you like to retire? What charitable organizations do you want to help?

Then, your Certified Financial Planner, CFP, takes all these inputs and creates the first draft of a customized plan for you and your family's unique situation and goals. Once this plan is presented, you can start taking your own “Baby Steps” toward the future you envision.

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Financial planning is not a static process. It is not like you do it once and say, “Thank goodness that’s over,” shove your plan in a drawer, and forget about it until the day you retire. It is a dynamic process that must be reviewed and adjusted regularly to reflect updates in your family, work, and the economic and investment backdrop.

By regularly reviewing and updating your plan with a CFP, you will see how these “Baby Steps” can take you on a journey that brings you closer to your goals over time.

Contrary to popular opinion, the financial planning process is not restrictive—quite the opposite. Once you have defined your goals and know how much of your resources you need to allocate to reach them, you can use the rest of your resources to enjoy life today.

If you have a friend or loved one who is struggling with their current financial situation and they don’t know what “Baby Steps” they need to take to start moving towards a better and brighter financial life, we are here for you and for them.

Please check out the link to our second opinion service above, or give them our name, number, and website. We will be more than happy to help them start the process (That is, as long as they do not follow us on our family vacations). The CFPs of Impel Wealth Management are blessed to be able to help families on their financial journeys as we continue “Moving Life Forward.” 

© 2024 Jesse Hurst

The views stated are not necessarily the opinion of Cetera and should not be construed directly or indirectly as an offer to buy or sell any securities mentioned herein. Due to volatility within the markets mentioned, opinions are subject to change without notice. Information is based on sources believed to be reliable; however, their accuracy or completeness cannot be guaranteed. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

Investors cannot directly invest in indices.

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