• How to Be the Engineer of Your Own Financial Train

    by David Strege CFP® CFA CKA® Senior Financial Planner | February 18, 2022

    As the engineer, you are in charge of plotting your financial destination. But more than that, you are also responsible for your train and its fuel, the people you take with you, and the things you’ll need to reach your destination. 

    What will your journey look like? What things will you use to get you there? Obviously, life takes money or in this metaphor “coal” to power the steam engine. To make your train move forward, you’ll need a way to earn that coal aka: a job. 

    Your job provides the necessary income or “coal” to move your financial train along its course. Further down the tracks, as the train engineer, you’ll start accumulating wealth to make your journey more enjoyable.

    You're adding on more cars on your train, it's adding on weight, it's using up more coal that you must keep replenishing, and you’re constantly working. For example, you might even pick up a train car like purchasing a vehicle! With the responsibility of having a vehicle, also comes the burden of insuring it, which takes more coal. 

    Next comes a house, a vacation, or maybe little ones. All of these added “train cars” take more and more coal to keep your train engine rolling. Your financial train is working hard with the added weight of your train cars. As the engineer of this financial train, you are constantly working and replenishing your coal stores. It sounds OK, but then you realize that your wheels might be just churning in one place.

    You're not making progress, and until you start laying out the track of your goals of where you want to go, you're just burning up energy. You need to ask yourself the all-important question: where am I going and am I making progress to get there someday? Are you at a standstill of earning enough coal just to stay on the tracks but you’re not moving toward your end goal?

    Now you may start looking ahead; what are the possibilities you're envisioning for your future? You start laying out tracks to get there, and those tracks are taking you to the goal. Now your train starts moving. You're making progress, you're experiencing new events, and you're moving towards those life goals that you have dreamed of.

    That sounds exciting, but then life happens. All of the sudden, a derailment could be disastrous and the supply of coal could stop. How do you handle the derailment of a disability, a job loss, or a health scare? Have you planned for that? You have to plan ahead and figure out how to handle events that aren’t expected.

    Well, look even further out. There's going to be a point that you ask yourself, “Well, I'm not going to keep feeding the coal all this time into the train. I am likely going to stop producing coal; how am I going to keep this train running?”

    At Syverson Strege, we don’t want your train to simply run in circles. We want to help you identify your goal destinations and enjoy the ride along the way, knowing that adjustments may be necessary.

    While we might not be in the train business, we are in the financial planning and investment management business. We’ll ask you the important questions in your coal producing years so you can put money further down the tracks and let your coal compound for the future.

    Let us help you take good care of your financial train and help you prepare to funnel coal into your engine after you’re done producing. Syverson Strege wants to be the one to help you enjoy your train journey!

    Contact us today at 515-225-6000 to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation, confidential consultation with one of our fee-only, financial planners. We can help you develop a financial plan, manage your investments for the future, and help to achieve retirement security.  

    David Strege CFP® CFA CKA® Senior Financial Planner
    David Strege serves clients as a Senior CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner at Syverson Strege in West Des Moines, helping individuals and families lay out an integrated personal financial plan to efficiently get them from where they are to where they want to be. He also serves on the investment committee and is chairman of the board of directors. David earned a B.S.B.A. in Finance with a concentration in personal financial planning from Drake University. He earned his CFP® certification in 1982 and in 2008 served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the U.S.A. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. In 1987 he received the Chartered Financial Analyst® certification to better assist clients with their investment portfolios. He earned the Certified Kingdom Advisor® designation in 2017. David served on the Board of Directors for the National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®) for nine years and served as Chairman in 2018.

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