Why Plan?

Occasionally, some of my students would ask: “Why bother setting goals for the future when things never work out as planned?” My response to them was always something like “planning for the future doesn’t guarantee the future, but it increases the probability that the future will be the one you want.”

Take, for example, the goal of saving a $50,000 down payment for a home in five years. If a person never sets the goal, and never implements savings strategies, but just lives day-to-day without thought for the future, they will almost certainly find other things to spend their money on, and in five years the person will not have the necessary down payment.

It is true that “life may happen” during those five years in such a way that makes the down-payment goal a lesser priority. For example, in year three the person may be diagnosed with cancer and their down-payment savings may have to be spent on medical bills. Optimistically speaking, the person could say “it was a good thing I had some savings, savings I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t planned for the future.”

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