We fail all the time. We set expectations and goals and then regularly fail to meet them. And oftentimes we do it knowing full well we are failing. Our lives are cushioned with safety net after safety net. We set a dining out budget, but when we inevitably go over budget we rely on credit cards to pick up the slack. We say we want to put 20% down on a house, but when we only manage to save 10% we accept it. Failure is not only an option, it’s often expected.
I had a moment recently where I felt myself accepting failure. It had to do with saving for college. I happened across a college cost calculator. I save a lot each year for my kids so I don’t know what I expected the calculator to tell me, but when it said I’d need to save $20,000 a year for the next 13 years to pay for my kids to go to college, I lost it. My immediate thought was, “or I could just not.” Failure seemed acceptable, even reasonable. But it’s not. Sometimes failure isn’t an option. I’ve decided to pay for my kids’ schooling because mine was paid for, and yet I almost gave that up in an instant because it seemed too hard.
Rarely do we shut down all outs and escape routes and accept that failure isn’t an option. But we should! I meet with thousands of people a year and so many of them say I want to retire at ‘x’ age. When I lay out the plan for them to retire at their desired age, they balk, and then retract. We all set goals, but are we willing to actually do the hard work necessary to accomplish our goals?
We need to get our head in the game. Simply don’t allow failure to be an option. Accomplish your financial goals, because you can.
Read my full Indy Star column here.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.