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William J. Newstad, Attorney at Law
Attorney Profiles Blogs


The Three-Year Review and The Three-Year Plan

Posted on: July 7th, 2014
Review your life's circumstances from three years ago. Think about what you knew and what you didn't know about managing your wealth. What were the top five lessons you learned? How have your views about money and wealth changed? Given all that, where do you want to be financially in three years? Think about how you will get there and how to do so efficiently.

The Key Takeaways
o Taking the time to look back over the last three years will help you see accomplishments you may have missed in various areas of your life.
o Taking the time also to look forward three years will help you to set goals and determine how to achieve them.
o Working toward incremental achievements instead of the 'big fix' sets the stage for lasting and meaningful change.

Ben Franklin wrote: 'Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement and success have no meaning.'

We achieve because we learn new things, apply them and see results. But too often, we get caught up in the busyness of our lives and fail to see the progress we've actually made--in careers, family, finances, education, spirituality and health. While one area in this list may not be what you want it to be, make sure you give yourself credit for the changes that did occur. For most important things in life, we do not change overnight or, if we do, the results take time to settle in. You will be encouraged in marking your life's progress by looking back at regular three-year intervals.

Why three years? If looking back just one year, we may be in the middle of big progress but not yet see enough results; five years often dulls the details. Three years is soon enough that we can recall with vivid memories 'how things used to be' while having a long enough runway to see real progress as our changes take flight.

In the same way, set important goals with a three-year future horizon. The reasons for this time period mirror those when looking back. We have time to make changes that are hard, and we can work on accumulating incremental results instead of feeling the pressure to get it all done in a short period (i.e., a year).

What You Need to Know
Just as you set financial priorities in spending and saving, you can set priorities in other areas of your life. Remember to have realistic goals with incremental benchmarks, so you will be able to measure your growth and see the progress you are making. Don't expect huge changes overnight; you have a lifetime to make yours work the way you want.

Actions to Consider
o Keep a journal or log of your progress to remind yourself of your achievements. Setting incremental and achievable goals is vastly more productive than trying to do it all at once. A key part of our wealth legacy is imparting to our loved ones the lessons we learned, both good and bad. Share these life lessons you are learning as you implement a three-year review and three-year plan program.
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