Christian Living


Plan According to Your Goals and Invest According to Your Plan


A cornerstone of the Sound Mind Investing philosophy is that your investing decisions should always be made on the basis of a personalized, long-term strategy. It’s such a crucial concept that I covered it in the opening pages of my book:

To find peace of mind in your investment decisions, you need to become an initiator rather than a responder. Initiators have a concrete game plan in mind. They have made the effort to develop a strategy that specifically takes into account both their long-term financial goals as well as their own personal investment temperament. It is shaped around what they hope to accomplish in the future,and it fits who they are “inside.”

Make it your goal to become an initiator! Be like a shopper at the food market who buys only those ingredients needed to prepare a specific recipe.

Before she goes to the supermarket, Cindy knows what she is looking for. When she is confronted with special promotions for products that aren’t on her shopping list, she readily passes them by. Cindy won’t need to spend any time at all considering whether to buy them because her shopping is purposeful.

Similarly, before you begin to invest, put together a strategy that takes into account the risk of loss you can comfortably carry both financially and emotionally and let it guide your decision-making.

I want to state clearly what is only implied above: Your plan should be in writing. If your intentions are not down in black and white, with specifics spelled out, they need to be.

For example, who would you say is more likely to realize his dream of taking the family (grown kids and spouses, all the grandkids, the whole clan!) to Bermuda for a two-week vacation? There’s Jack, who says he has every intention of doing it someday, and there’s Tom, who talks about doing it in now and can show you the cost estimates he’s collected and the written savings plan he’s started which is going to pay for it all.

A written plan will also make sure you don’t forget to undertake all the important steps along the way. It’s easy to procrastinate, and it’s easy to forget. If it’s not in writing, it’s merely an idea, a good intention.

So, develop your plan and write it down. Keep it visible. You’ll be tempted to deviate from it — like when your brother-in-law calls with a hot stock tip, or the new car models come out and you’d rather spend than save — but don’t do it. Hold yourself accountable for carrying it out as planned. Stay the course.


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