How are Planning and Volunteering Related

8 July, 2015

Filed Under: Financial Planning

My wife and I just finished a marvelous week of volunteering at the U.S. Open in Tacoma. What a wonderful treat to watch the best golfers in the world compete on a course that we were able to play a couple of years ago. 

How is volunteering like planning my financial future? There are many similarities between volunteering and our financial future and goals. 

Over two years ago, we visited family who lived close to the 2015 U.S. Open venue (Chambers Bay) and decided at that time we would volunteer for the event. Our family also said we could stay with them provided they were still there (in their 80’s). Our plan overall was to volunteer and to stay with family. First we had to become volunteers; we took steps to assure we had a better chance to be volunteers; joined the U.S. Golf Association and volunteered for a Canadian event. When the volunteer applications were sent out, we were one of the first to apply and were accepted. This proved to be quite an accomplishment as the volunteer positions were filled in the first two days. 

The same process can be applied to planning for our finances; we need to establish a plan and set goals in order to achieve that plan then. We must implement the steps under our control, for example our saving and spending habits. 

However, our road to volunteering took a change of direction in March; prior to the culmination of our plan. Our family moved residences and we needed to change our accommodation arrangements. We looked at many options as the nightly rates for accommodation in the area had more than tripled. What should we do? Cancel? Pay way more for accommodation than we think we had planned or look at other options? We searched and searched and eventually found accommodations at a reasonable price; we would have a little further to travel daily, but this was acceptable. 

You see, many aspects of our lives and planning are out of our control and we need to learn to adapt. If we aren’t willing to adapt and accept, then our plan may fail. 
In the end, the experience and memories were worth the effort. Just like in planning our financial future. Focus on what matters or is important to you, and what you can control.