When Goals are Forced to Change

By Jessica Searcy Kmetty

Financial planning is not a one and done process. While we have many discussions with clients about their goals during the development of their plan, we know that things will pop up along the way that can cause goals to change. In some cases, these are decisions that are made after personal reflection warrants a change. But sometimes, we are forced to change our goals.

Goal planning isn’t just present in financial planning. I’m sure many of you have personal goals that you’re hoping to achieve this year. We’re in a brand new decade, which means some personal goals you set may have been even BIGGER than normal as you looked toward a chance to start fresh and new, or were ready to make things happen that you’ve been pondering for some time.

So, what happens when we’re forced to change our goals? It probably doesn’t feel great and it may not be easy.

Jam Run 123Here’s a small example of a change I’ve recently been experiencing. I live in Arizona. This means that a huge percentage of our year is HOT.

Did you know that I made a personal goal this year to run 400 miles in 365 days? Did you also know that I am a member of Orange Theory Fitness and I planned to run nearly all 400 of those miles indoors? Imagine my surprise when gyms shut down due to COVID-19 concerns and I found myself running those miles outdoors.

We’re now in the 80s during the day and by the end of May we’ll be in triple digits, so I’m really hoping the quarantine gets lifted before then so that I can go back to running on a treadmill indoors. If not, I’ll be running at night after the sun sets and the temps cool (because I’m just not a 5am kind of girl). Can I just say, I picked a terrible time to set a goal like this?!

I’m guessing many of you are experiencing a forced change in goals (or circumstances) as well, and many of those might be of huge significance.

Are you just now realizing that your goals may have been hijacked by this virus? People who were going to launch a new business or start a new job, or who have set fitness goals that they are going to now have a hard time reaching, people who were making strides in counseling/therapy but can’t continue their sessions right now, people who were going through infertility treatment and have been put on hold indefinitely or those who were working on a degree and may or may not be able to finish…

Let me first say, I see you and I’m with you.

What about moms and dads who are now acting as teachers? Anyone else have moments where you feel like a failure?

Many people have gone from working full time and having kids in daycare/school, to working from home (an adjustment for sure), having to be a full time care provider, and a full time teacher, and make 3 meals per day for their entire family, not just one. No one can possibly do all those things simultaneously AND well. I suspect there will be a lot of regret and stress and possibly grief associated with it for a lot of moms/dads who just can’t juggle all of it at the same time (it’s really hard for me, and my kids are all 10+ and fairly self-sufficient!).

Again, I see you and I’m with you.

There’s no easy way to deal with being forced to change your goals. Attitude is important, but it’s ok to feel the loss of something you were expecting.

Everything doesn’t have to be ok right away, and if you need to take time to feel the loss, take the time. If you need to talk with someone to help you navigate the change, talk with someone.

When you’re ready, you can consider options for modifying your goals, or changing them completely if needed. Maybe there’s still part of your goal that makes sense, and with some adjustment, you could reach it in a new (and maybe even better) way. I have faith in you, in all of us. We’ll do the best we can with the situations we’ve been given.

I hope you find peace during this time and wish you well as you navigate these changes!

Please remember that different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product made reference to directly or indirectly in this content, will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), or be suitable for you or your portfolio. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter (article) serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Searcy Financial Services, Inc.

The content of this letter does not constitute a tax or legal opinion. Always consult with a competent professional service provider for advice on tax or legal matters specific to your situation. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed in this content, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing.  

Published for the blog on April 2, 2020 by Searcy Financial Services, your Overland Park, Kansas Fee-Only Financial Planner and Investment Manager.