Trust Services and SIMPLIFY
Urgent vs. Important
April 23, 2018
If you have ever postponed doing things you know you should take care of and instead focused on what’s immediately in front of you, you’re not alone. It’s a phenomenon called “Tyranny of the Urgent.” In other words, what’s happening in the present moment distracts us and takes precedence over other things we also need to do. We’re all guilty of this, especially when it comes to taking steps to accomplish our long-term goals.
However, we would challenge you to work against this tendency. When you worry about only the “urgent,” you sometimes miss out on the “important.” This is as true for financial matters as anything else in life. This is why it can be difficult for some people to save early on so that they can meet their goals later in life. Things that are important (such as being generous or leaving a legacy) are easy to ignore or put off. Instead, there’s a list of urgent items that you can take care of now that makes you feel like you accomplished something, even if they detract from your important goals.
When talking with our clients about how to best plan for goals and financial “finish lines,” we often use the analogy of taking a road trip. Before starting out on a cross-country road trip, you’re going to first think about the things you would like to see and do along the way. Once this is determined, you can then plan the route that will ensure you get to experience the things that are important to you.
But what happens if, in the middle of your trip, you decide to take a detour to see something that wasn’t originally in your plans? This will require some adjustments to your route and may mean that you miss out on some other things that you had planned for. Is this good or bad? It depends on whether or not your detour is focused on the right things and what you have to give up for it.
We often see this happen when it comes to longer-term financial goals. Things will always come up that may be tempting to pursue that can take you off-course. We usually determine that these are urgent and sometimes important (college for the kids, once in a lifetime vacation, etc.). But understanding how these detours affect your long-term plans can be difficult. Work situations can change too. For example, God may call you to do work without a salary, or you may not physically be able to work at a full-time job as you age.
To help determine your path, we encourage our clients to go on a goal planning weekend every year. Whether you are single or married, we believe this is an important first step to help you define what you want your ‘road trip’ to look like, what you want to experience along the way, and where you would like to be at the end of the trip. Then, you can plan the steps you need to take to give you the best chance of reaching your final destination. To assist in this, Ronald Blue Trust developed a goal planning booklet to help clients think through their financial goals. Don’t delay by thinking that “time is on your side” because the truth is, the older you get, the less this is true.
In short, as you strive toward your goals, it can be compelling to do the unexpected, urgent things that come up quite frequently. However, we believe helping our clients discern the difference between what is important and what is urgent will ultimately get you where you want to go.
At Ronald Blue Trust, we believe in always keeping the important tasks at the forefront through living a generous life and leaving a legacy after we’re gone. If you would like to speak to an advisor about your long-term financial goals or to receive a complimentary copy of our goal planning booklet, please call 800.987.2987 or email
Be sure to visit our
channel and follow us on
Disclaimer: Ronald Blue Trust obtains historical and other information from a wide variety of publicly available sources. The information and material provided is for informational purposes only and is intended to be educational in nature. We have taken reasonable care and precaution to ensure that the information is fair and accurate, or has been compiled from sources believed to be reliable. Nevertheless, we do not make any representations or warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness, or fitness for any purpose or use of the information. The information may not in all cases be current and it is subject to continuous
change. Accordingly, you should not rely on any of the information as authoritative or a substitute for the exercise of your own skill and judgment in making any investment or other decision. We recommend that individuals consult with a professional advisor familiar with their particular situation for advice concerning specific investments, accounting, tax, and legal matters or other matters before taking any action. We shall not be liable for any direct, indirect, or consequential loss arising from any use of or reliance on the information contained here. Certain sections of this commentary may contain forward-looking statements that are based on our reasonable expectations, estimate, projections and assumptions. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks and uncertainties, which are difficult to predict. Investing involves risk and the value of your investment will fluctuate over time and you may gain or lose money. Past performance of any security, sector or investment style is not necessarily indicative of future results.