Sorry, I didn’t have time for a blog last Monday.  Just too much planning going on in my life and then putting those plans to work. So here goes.  Last Blog we talked about long range planning.  What did you decide to try and plan for?  To buy a home? to return to school? To plan for retirement? to buy a new car?  To do more marketing to make more revenue?

Now I’m going to let you in on few hints.  Long term planning begins with making the goals as clear and time sensitive as possible.  “I might want to buy a new car sometimes in the future” doesn’t work.  Or “ohmygosh, I really need to make more money in my practice” doesn’t work either.

What does work is “I want to buy a new car within my budget no later than 6 months from now”. You have something to work off of now for the next step in planning.  What jumps out at you.  NEW CAR    BUDGET  6 MONTHS. are the important words.  Actually, BUDGET is the first consideration because you cannot identify what kind  of new car you can afford until you know what your budget is.  Ok, to start then you have to know what your present budget consists of.  If you are a Solo then you have a personal and a business budget.  You have income that comes in starts and stops as business flows. However, you do know what overhead you have and what are your fixed personal expenses.

When you look at the numbers, you should be able to come up with what discretionary income you have.  Do you have a savings account?  Do you buy  three Starbucks every day?  Are you planning a vacation?  Do you have a lot of debt? All of these considerations are paramount for consideration before you decide on just what kind of car you can afford.  Let’s say you are willing to forgo your vacation which you have budgeted $3,000 for this year.  Now it’s pretty hard to get a new car for $3,000 so you are going to have to do some kind of loan.  What is credit like?  How much can you borrow after the $3,000 down?  What will the loan payments be? Can those fit in your budget?

night swirl Now you have enough information to know if you can really buy a car in 6 months or if that is not enough time to save up an increased down payment so that your loan payments will be within your budget.  See it’s all a balancing act at this time. But as we go forward with our journey, it is obvious that, at this point, you have some idea of what you can afford and how long it will take you to get to that point.  You may have to extend or maybe decrease the time element but let’s get on with picking out our new car!

So you go to New or something like that and compare prices.  Unfortunately that is not enough.  You also have to compare gas mileage and maintenance records, etc.  Sometimes at this point or a little earlier you find you really need a NEW USED CAR.  Then you  have to look at mileage and prior accident history.

I could go on and on but you are smart lawyers and get the idea.  Planning takes time and effort and Stephen Covey says  planning should take up a significant period of time each day in your life.  He should know. He had 10 children and still was able to start a company and have a successful life. He passed away only recently.

So start planning something exciting in your life right now!