By Jaymon Meikle, CFP®, Wealth Advisor
This last weekend my wife and I checked something off our to-do list that we’ve been wanting to get done since moving from Tennessee to Missouri: we bought a tree for our backyard. As soon as we moved here, we knew that we wanted to bring a piece of our Tennessee home with us, and one of our favorite pieces was a big, beautiful red sunset maple that was right off our porch. When it came to deciding what tree we wanted for our new backyard, it was an easy decision.
Our old Tennessee home and maple tree
We went to Mann’s Lawn, Landscape, and Garden Center, and they had exactly what we were looking for. Of course, what they had was nowhere near the size of our Tennessee tree, but it was one that could someday be just as big and beautiful. We bought the tree.
The next day I picked up our new tree and brought it back home. My kids “helped” me (their version at least) dig the hole and plant the tree. My youngest daughter asked why the tree was so small, why we couldn’t get a bigger one and if this one be as good as our old one. I gave her all the reasons and explanations, but I found myself wishing we had done this earlier so we could at least see some progress by now. That’s when I remembered the old Chinese proverb:
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.
Would have it been nice to done it earlier? Absolutely. But there’s nothing I can do about that; all I can control is what happens now.
Our new maple tree
The Power of “Now”
This week I met with a new client that I’m really excited to be working with. He has worked hard, saved well, and is getting ready to transition into his Go-Go years in the not-too-distant future. We were able to pull everything together into his financial plan and had some meaningful conversations about what is important to him and what he wants his plan to do for him. At the end of our meeting, he mentioned that he wishes he would’ve come and talked to us years ago, but he didn’t know what he didn’t know. I shared with him the same Chinese proverb that I had reminded myself of just a few days prior. We talked about how we can’t go in to the past and change what we should’ve done. The important thing is that he’s here now and has started the process.
It’s easy to think that since you didn’t start when you “should have,” or at least earlier than today, that it’s too late. Why even start if it’s already too late? I’ve seen far too many people justify not starting using this logic.
It’s difficult to move past the thought of “should have”, but that’s where we need to be willing to give ourselves some grace. There’s many different things that we “should” be doing, but there’s only so much that can be taken on at one time.
And if we’re being honest, there’s times where all that we can manage is what life throws our way on a daily basis. The important thing is that we still take that next step forward, no matter how long it’s been since we “should have” started.
When it comes to financial planning, everyone should have a financial plan. Please don’t let the thought of “should have” started long ago keep you from taking that step forward now. We would love a chance to help you no matter what stage in life you are in.