“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”
My wife and I love to travel, but we approach it differently. She prefers following a strict itinerary. Her best case scenario involves coupling maximum predictability with minimum variability. She will spend months planning for a week long trip. Her expectation is that the probability of a fulfilling experience can be increased by actively reducing unplanned moments.
Fortunately for us I am a counterbalance to this kind of behavior. After transportation and accommodations are taken care of, I am game to just see how things go. A little bit of aimless wandering around unfamiliar territory actually gets me really excited.
It should come as no surprise that I approach investing and financial planning very differently than I do travel. I prioritize planning to reach the destination far above savoring the journey. Here at the practice, I make sure our clients do the same.
With investing, and mostly everything else, disciplined behavior plays an outsized role in determining the probability of success. Expecting repeated bouts with wanderlust in any multi-decade endeavor should come as a given. Anticipating it when it comes to investing, and preparing accordingly will help you tremendously.
A well structured plan should have enough gravitational pull to bring you back to your baseline in the face of constant distraction. That baseline is whatever is required in order for you to accomplish your goals. It could be the percentage you need invested in equities, your optimal annual savings rate, perhaps it is simply sticking with a portfolio of investments in the face of volatility fatigue.
When the the success or failure of an outcome is subjective, as it is with travel, wanderlust is not necessarily a bad thing. The content of your financial plan is totally subjective, whether or not you succeed isn’t. Allowing your strategy too drift to far from where you started will undo even the most well laid plans.