A foolproof financial plan is one that you can stick to, that you can execute, consistently over time – even through challenging times or unexpected setbacks. This is what to keep in mind if you want to build your own.
People are (remarkably) bad at understanding how probabilities work in real life. We often fail to grasp what it really means if a particular event has a 70% chance of happening, or if some downside risk only shows up 30% of the time.
We tend to estimate, to round up or down: to say a 30% chance is essentially the same as a 0% chance or a 70% chance might as well be 100%.
This presents a big challenge in financial planning, especially when you are trying to plan for a very long term (30, 50, even 70 years if you start early!). If you want to build a foolproof financial plan, you have to understand how to properly assess probabilities and accurately evaluate risk.
That’s what we do every day as financial planners for our clients: we build foolproof financial plans and provide ongoing guidance so that those clients can actually implement those plans.
In this episode of the podcast, we’re discussing 7 key aspects that we look at when trying to build a foolproof financial plan:
- Constructing a baseline plan with a high likelihood of success
- Identifying actions you can take consistently over time (in almost any circumstance)
- Choosing assumptions carefully
- Avoiding reliance on any one factor or variable to work out perfectly in order for the entire plan to work
- Saving 25 percent of your income (or more!)
- Frontloading your savings and taking advantage of the power time gives you when it comes to compounding returns
- Keeping your spending in check (and using other rules of thumb to keep cash flow under control, like limiting your total annual housing costs to 20 percent of your gross income)
Following these 7 steps can help you construct a foolproof financial plan with the ability to withstand life’s inevitable challenging seasons. You also have the financial stability to weather a spot of bad luck and the financial strength to to recover from mistakes.
You also give yourself freedom and flexibility both right now and into the future. You have the freedom to make choices, to change your mind, to try something new.
And freedom with our finances means access to the ultimate marker of success: having the choice and flexibility in how we spend our time. Ready to get your foolproof financial plan in place so you can enjoy these benefits?
Jump into the episode here:
Further Reading & Links from This Episode on Building a Foolproof Financial Plan
- A list of all Annie Duke’s books, including her newest, Quit
- Nate Silver discusses the 2016 election and why the media (and most people) has a probability problem (plus this Harvard.edu snippet on why people thought Silver was “wrong”)
- More from us on building a bulletproof balance sheet
- You might also want to check out our podcast episode on the process we use to save 30-40 percent of our income
- Or this one on the importance of building financial power – an idea closely linked to the sustainability idea discussed in this episode
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