What is financial faith? Does faith take the place of creating a financial plan? This question is not a rhetorical one. It’s one my wife and I have asked each other for years.
Because of my experience as a kid, I never wanted to leave financial security to chance. I planned and projected. Saved and invested. And worried, of course. Fortunately, it’s turned out well so far.
My wife, on the other hand, has always argued that we can’t control everything and of course she’s right. She believes in having a positive attitude. I realize that the power of positive thinking is immense and often underestimated. And I know that planning alone isn’t enough.
In fact, I’m dealing with a client right now who proves the point. He did everything he could to ensure financial security for his family. But because of some very special circumstances, all the security he put in place for his family is falling apart. He is dying of cancer, and his business is going to pieces too. He doesn’t have the strength to fight either problem, let alone both of them at the same time.
So, if everything you’ve built up can be ripped apart through no fault of your own, is there any point to planning? And on the other side of the coin, if you have faith, isn’t that enough?
Of course, each of us has to find our own answer.
What I’ve learned over the last several years is that you have to do everything you can…and then let go of the result. I believe that we do have a responsibility to get out of debt. We have an obligation to have enough life insurance. And we are negligent if we don’t run a financial plan every year to make sure we’re on track.
But once you do all that, you have to let go of the result. Life happens, and much of it is beyond our control.
For many years I was completely wrapped up in making sure my family would “have enough.” For the most part, this was a good exercise. But I spent so much time and energy on it that I missed out on a lot of things. I finally decided to be satisfied with doing my best and to have faith.
So far, this has been a better approach. Granted, I’m not facing the hardships many others do – especially the client I talked about before. But I am more relaxed about what’s happening than ever before. I am at peace knowing, if I’ve done my very best, what else can I ask of myself?
How do you balance having faith with your financial plan?