Why do people find it so hard to plan ahead?
To start with lets take retirement as an example of how hard people find it to plan ahead, on average 50% of working age people in the UK don't adequately save for retirement.
Why is that? In my opinion after working with numerous clients, around them obtaining their business goals and financial outcomes,there are 2 major factors that contribute.
1) The way the human mind works, retirement as a goal is too far distant to focus on and keep motivated to achieve. From a coaching point of view most goal setting exercises are set in 3 month chunks or steps contributing to a bigger goal, set at anywhere between 1 and 5 years. This keeps focus, and linked with motivation plus the release of endorphins that comes with the pleasure of success, sustains momentum.
2) Most people don't want to retire! People want to have choice as to whether they work or not, what they work on and with whom. They also want it sooner than 65 but would be quite happy with working longer than that, as long as it is their choice.
There you have it, it's all about choice. Try it out on yourself and then on others, friends, relatives etc..
Ask this question
"Which is more appealing?"
"Saving 20%+ of my monthly income for the next 20 to 40 years or taking small steps every 3 months to achieve small goals that within a short period of time add up to a residual income at least equal to what I earn now in 3 to 5 years time."
With some planning, goal setting and some structured investment of assets you probably already have, such as time, energy and or dormant or frozen pensions, property equity, etc., most people can achieve this. The ones that do will be the ones that take the first step and get a plan.
One last thought, what is considered an adequate amount of money per year to retire on? Well an adequate amount is considered to be about 50% of your final salary. So the 50% of people who are saving for retirement, are they saving enough to retire on the equivalent of approximately 50% of what they are earning now?
What's your plan?