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Looking ahead

By Susan Weiner

“If you don’t look ahead, you’ll always be behind” is a quote attributed to business author Harvey Mackay. It seems appropriate for this month’s issue as we look ahead at issues that will affect the profession of financial planning in 2023 and beyond.

In this month’s issue

This issue kicks off with “The top 3 technology trends for financial advisors in 2023” by ActiFi’s Spenser Segal, followed by Professor Kimberly Watkins’ Preparing the next generation of planners with ‘soft skills’,” lawyer Cary Kvitka’s “Top 5 exam priorities in 2023 for SEC-registered investment advisors,” college admissions consultant Cozy Wittman’s “College application trends and how advisors can help clients navigate them,” and insights from NAPFA on “Looking ahead with NAPFA’s new strategic framework” and “DEI at NAPFA.”

My personal approach

For many years I’ve done reviews of the past quarter or year, complemented by goal setting for the quarter and year ahead. But I’ve changed my planning process after I read an article in last year's magazine: Cameo Roberson’s “Rethink your business plan for its greatest impact.”

I liked Cameo’s idea of setting and tracking goals in a quadrant of four boxes:

  • Vision—three years
  • Goals—12 months
  • Projects—90 days
  • Weekly actions (limit to two to three)

I’d had most of the quadrant’s components in my planning, but I lacked a three-year vision. I like how its addition helps me to think longer term. I also like how the four-quadrant box makes my goals visible in a small space. I printed out the boxes from my latest quarterly review and taped them to the bottom of my computer monitor.

It’s so helpful to keep longer-term goals in mind and to monitor one’s progress toward them. Otherwise, it’s easy to get bogged down in the daily slog. Although my goals for three years are bigger than for one year, I’m not finding them daunting. Instead, it’s good to see that I’m making progress on them bit by bit. You can also benefit from assessing your progress along different time periods, as Cameo recommends.