Achieving spontaneity in a planned life

In his Money Manifesto this week Living Money founder Jeremy Deedes argues that, far from being restrictive and a constraint on personal freedom, planning your life and money enables spontaneity and leads to a more fulfilled life.

Building spontaneity into your plan

by Jeremy Deedes | Living Money

I am occasionally taken to task for advocating a planning process that  – quote – kills spontaneity and prevents individuals from taking advantage of the opportunities life throws at at us – unquote. In fact, some people really fear planning their lives because they see it as constricting their personal liberty and freedom

As we go through the process of drawing up a roadmap for our lives I think its worth considering this in some depth

My first response is that the planning process (or at least my planning process) is goal driven. By this I mean that we spend a considerable amount of time carrying out a deep exploration of someone’s profound life goals and personal projects. This is not a two minute exercise; rather it is an often emotional and difficult exploration of one’s life, and therefore the end result is meaningful, in fact, very meaningful and provides people with the personal authority to make key decisions about whether to accept or decline an opportunity that presents itself, based on whether it furthers the achievement of your goals or hinders it.

So yesterday I was invited by some friends to join them on an impromptu trip to the slopes in a couple of weeks. I had not originally planned to go ski-ing this year, feeling the need to be around to support my son as he finishes school and applies to Uni – a key personal project for me. However, he has recently received good offers from a couple of universities and according to his tutor is making good progress on his work. I felt able to immediately accept the ski-ing offer (ski-ing and friends also being core elements of my personal projects) and did so.

The second point about planning is that it does provide a financial framework for making informed decisions. Planning sets boundaries, including spending boundaries. However, within those boundaries we are free to do what we will. Going back to the ski-ing invitation, I know what our family travel plans and budgets are, and know that they are not fully taken up yet, so making the decision to accept or not is that much easier.

And when it comes to cash flow, I also include an item called ‘ Spontaneity’. You might think of it as a contingency budget. In fact it is more than that as, within the context of your overall life and financial plan it provides scope to be spontaneous, to seize opportunities as the arise, to live life to the full without all the ‘shall we, shan’t we’ to-ing and fro-ing that accompanies an unplanned and directionless life.

So, does planning your life restrict your freedom? Of course, and that is a necessary condition for achieving what is truly important in your life.