Planning for the future and growing a garden are quite similar. When we set out to grow a garden, we need a plan to determine the desired results. Do we want to harvest the garden to feed the family? Contribute to a community? Use it to accent what we already have available to us? Or plant a specific flower like tulips? The same thought process goes for investing. Are we relying on the investments for financial security through our golden years? Paying for college? Or supplementing an income such as a pension or family inheritance.

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Planting the seeds. Once we know what type of garden it will be, we need to prepare the soil before planting the seeds. The soil of a garden is the basis for success and needs proper preparation and irrigation. To properly invest for our desired goals, a financial plan should be implemented to prepare the roadmap, define those goals and decide the timeline needed to determine the types of investments (asset allocation) used. Depending on the desired goals, a garden may be planted in sections to produce different outcomes throughout the year. Knowing what season is right for planting those vegetables, fruit, herbs or flowers will aid in the success of your garden. Much like one must consider timing and diversification of investments to meet desired financial goals. 

Maintaining the garden. Throughout the process, you may need to add more fertilizer or treat the soil to ensure its nutrients are enough to sustain the term of the harvest. Likewise in planning, reviewing the goals and adjusting expectations and timelines will reap a successful outcome.  

One also needs to be prepared for the unexpected. In gardening, an irrigation issue that causes flooding, extreme weather, or a lack of water will disrupt the growth and success of the garden. In that case, a new crop may need to be planted or suspended until the next season. In financial planning, an emergency or situation could derail the success of the plan. Although proper planning includes safeguards like an emergency fund, some circumstances may deplete the fund or may be too big to be diminished by the savings; therefore, the goals need to be adjusted and the timeline for the success of those goals extended.

Whether it be a garden or future goals, a well thought out plan with the ability to pivot as needed will bear the fruits of your success.

Michele Sarna is a certified financial planner™ with Beacon Pointe Advisors and can be reached at (760) 932.0930 or [email protected].

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