What is Financial Planning…Really?

Picture this: you’re about to go Clark W. Griswald and take a two-week family road trip. (Yes, I’m dating myself but it’s a classic.) I’m assuming most people fall between one of the two extremes.

The checklist traveler: You know exactly where you’re going and your itinerary looks something like this…

You’re going to Disney World and along the way you want to visit the:

  • Gateway Arch and see the Cubs beat the Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis
  • Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum in Nashville
  • Apple Valley Hillbilly Garden and Toyland (I mean, why the heck not, it’s a catchy name)
  • Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins, Georgia
  • World’s largest peanut in Ashburn, Georgia

Then, you’ll spend a week in Orlando:

  • Two days at Disney World
  • Two days at Universal Studios
  • One day at Gatorland…(sounds cool!)
  • Visit the beach for one day and relax

Finally, you start the trip home with hopes of catching the Parthenon and The Johnny Cash Museum, if you’re lucky and have time.

Or maybe you’re the free-bird road-tripper type…

Where you, your spouse, and all the kiddos hop in the minivan and go. You get onto the highway and head for the open road. No plan, GPS, maps, or budget. The only thing you know is you must be back in two weeks.

For an incredibly limited few, they would pull off either of these and probably make it look easy. They have a unique ability to get where they want to go.

However, for the rest of us, even the most capable travelers, our trip wouldn’t pan out like we had wished.

Look at what happened to Clark. He drove off a cliff into the desert, causing costly damage to his station wagon. He lost the family’s luggage and his wallet. He picked up a dog and an aunt; both of which tragically passed on. When they finally arrived at Wally World, it was closed, resulting in kidnapping and trespassing. Obviously, this is fiction and Clark is a lovable moron, but it paints a picture of you don’t always know what will happen. 


The beauty of planning is that it should be customized to your family.

If you’re the checklist traveler, it’s helps you get done what you want within the time frame and budget that you hope.

If you’re more of the free-bird, it can give you a little direction and potentially point out some things you’d love to see along the way.

The truth is, some people spend more time thinking about and planning a vacation over the course of a year than planning a financial future. Think about that…most vacations last a week or two. With your finances, you may have 25 – 35 years of work and then another 30 of retirement that you should be planning for.

Anything can happen over the next two weeks, so what about 50 – 60 years?

As simply as I can put it, financial planning helps you get from point A to point B while also helping to reroute you through unexpected traffic jams and detours. It helps you find amazing and unique attractions that you may have missed or a garage when your car breaks down. There are no certainties, but planning can be the difference in increasing your chances of making it back home in two weeks while getting the vacation you hoped for.

Minus the kidnapping and trespassing, that should never be part of the plan.

Special thanks to our Guest Blogger, Clint Brady, for sharing this info with us! Clint is a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual. He is an advocate for families and business owners on creating a path to financial independence

Click here for a free, no obligation consultation with Clint.


Interested in learning more? Read more of Clint’s posts for Cedar Rapids Moms Blog:

Investing is the New Black
Three Financial Questions to Answer When Changing Jobs
How to Weather the Holiday Spending Storm
Saving for My Kids’ Education or My Retirement: Which is More Important?

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