Financial planning 101: We can’t predict tomorrow but we can prepare for it

ANDY was very excited that his trip to Tokyo is finally happening in a few hours’ time.

The next thing he knew, he had already arrived in Japan and was taking an Uber ride to the accommodation he had booked. He was thrilled that his 10-day vacation has begun.

However, he had been too occupied with his work that he forgot to properly plan the details of his day-to-day vacation. He gave himself permission to take it slowly and enjoy a bit on Day One. In his first night, he started thinking about his itinerary for the next few days.

“It seems there are so many attractions but too little time”.

A few days later – from a chat with his friend – Andy learned that he could also travel to other cities such as Odawara, and from there he could also make way to Hakone to enjoy the scenic view. Making up his mind, he decided to make the trip.

Soon, he had come to the end of his 10-day vacation. “It would be nice if I had spent more time in Odawara … but only if I went there earlier.”

Kevin Neoh

Reality of life

The story above emphasises the point that I want to make, that we can only prepare for our vacation before the vacation has happened.

Likewise, we can only prepare for tomorrow before tomorrow comes. While life is full of changes, it pays to plan ahead.

When we plan ahead, we are actually looking ahead of time and ask ourselves what are we planning for, and what are the things that are important for us.

This allow us to have an advantage of making decision that can help shape the tomorrow we intend to have, or see.

When we go for a vacation, not many will buy tickets and look for accommodations only upon arrival, most would have booked them ahead of time.

In life, there are also several key important moments or events that would benefit from our planning and preparation ahead of time.

These are events such as:

  • Getting married;
  • Buying a house;
  • Starting a business;
  • Raising a family;
  • Educating our children;
  • Shielding our family from unforeseen surprises;
  • Coping with health challenges (our own or our dependents);
  • And many more.

‘Time waits for no man’

We usually think that we have time to prepare later.

But the truth is that time slips through our fingers very quickly; a person who is 30 years old today would be approaching 40 soon and so on.

Preparing for our future does not guarantee what will happen in the future but it will help put us on track to what we want to have or adapt to any changes that might happen.

When a person works with a financial planner, this person is not only planning how his or her personal finances will be better managed, but also looks at various areas in life as well as to identify the actions or task we need to take in order to prepare for those events in the future.

Some events happen because we want them to while some are unexpected such as death, illness, pay-cuts, retrenchment, investment losses and such. How well we prepare for these situations will probably determine how easy we adapt to these experiences.

It does not matter if it has been a sunny day in the past. We live in the present – not the past. And we will eventually live in tomorrow. So preparing for what may happen seems like an activity that will pay.

Apart from this, you are probably going to think about “What kind of story do you want to tell in this vacation (life)?” and your answer will be determined by what you do during this journey. This nevertheless entails allocating your time, money, other resources and energy. – Sept 18, 2022


Kevin Neoh is a CFP professional and a certified member from Financial Planning Association Malaysia. He is also a Financial Life Coach.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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