Elizabeth Malgari, CFP® – Wealth Advisor & Director of Client Experience
Clients of Abaris Financial already know how passionate we are about goal setting. As part of my training, I recently had the opportunity to practice my own self-reflection and goal setting. How could I learn to help clients with their own goals and priorities if I didn’t address my own?
I proudly came into the office with my list of goals and told Abbey Henderson, my boss, everything I hoped to accomplish. She very kindly told me that they were nice goals, but to dream bigger. She wanted me to shoot for the moon.
To be honest, I was skeptical. I felt that achievable goals were a better path forward. If I accomplished my set goals, it would be positive reinforcement knowing that I could complete something that I set my mind to.
We amicably ended our discussion and moved into our day of busy client meetings and numbers; however, I pondered this question for longer than I care to admit. In the end, I think Abbey was correct – goals should be BIG. Goals should feel magical, important and extraordinary. I wasn’t wrong with my realistic goal setting, but I was thinking realistically. Too realistically. Too small.
The goals I originally created were the first rung of a ladder, rather than Abbey’s wish that I set my sights on the stars the ladder can reach. Of course, those first goals I set have their place and are useful.
To use my analogy, if you can’t reach the first rung of the ladder, how will you ever be expected to climb up? Each time you reach a rung, it’s important to envision and reach up to the next rung, always with your big goal in mind. Saving is a lot like this. Investors don’t think short-term, nor should they.
Often, we think years into the distant future – retirement is the big goal. Remember when you were a young kid starting your first job and you made that first contribution into your 401(k) and IRA? Over time, these early deposits and subsequent yearly deposits grew and grew until the future that you had imagined at 22 becomes your reality at 72. Each deposit is a rung on the ladder leading you to your big goal of retiring with money and opportunity.
Climbing the Ladder
Because of my big goal setting, I now have an image of my 70-year-old self. I am playing on a sunny beach in the warm sand with my grandchildren. I’m a healthy and happy woman with wrinkles and a bright pink bathing suit. What I need to accomplish to make this goal a reality is healthy eating, exercise and a positive mindset.
My first rungs on the ladder are the 5K I’ve signed up for in June and healthy, homecooked meals like the new vegetable soup I have on the stove. It may be baby steps on rung one of my ladder, but that’s OK with me.
What do the rungs of your ladder look like? Schedule a conversation so we can talk about goal setting and aiming for the moon together!