Too Little Too Late = Too Much Too Fast

For an upcoming ski trip in the new year, I decided I needed to work out. After a few weeks of new exercises, one morning I felt a twinge in my lower back. Oops. After doing too little for too long, I tried to do too much too fast. And I got hurt. To work best, exercising takes patience, commitment, and persistence.

So do finances. If we neglect them too long, investment accounts become unbalanced; the tax bill causes a surprise and a migraine; our legal documents get flabby; and the financial plan’s muscles fail. The longer we wait to work on financial issues, the more it could hurt. But yet, it’s one of those good-for-us things, like exercise, that many resist.

Ignoring pieces of a plan for a year or so might not kill you. Two or three years, and you might need to take it easy and slow. Longer than that? Only proceed under the supervision of a trained professional.

But relax – I like to say that financial planning is less painful than a root canal, easier than trigonometry, and more fun than marriage counseling. Why wait??

When my brain can’t grasp why anybody would put off a visit to the financial planner, I just have to move the wrong way, and my lower back reminds me.

Holly Donaldson

Holly P. Donaldson, CFP® writes and consults on the psychology of money. Her fee-only, product-free financial planning practice focuses on increasing financial self-efficacy for those seeking a financial navigator to help them make good decisions. She is the author of The Mindful Money Mentality: How to Find Balance in Your Financial Future (Porchview Publishing, 2013) and publisher of the award-winning monthly e-letter, "The View From the Porch." With a fully virtual practice in Seminole, Florida, she primarily serves clients located in the Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater areas. Holly will also work with clients who are a good fit located elsewhere in the United States.

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