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  • Posted July 23, 2018

Understand Limitations

Historically I’ve written about ways to stretch yourself; but today I want to highlight the importance of understanding your limitations – and working within them. Not just yours, but those of professionals you’re working with, who may not have acknowledged they have any or at the very least are unwilling to admit they do to you.

This comes, like all of my writing, personal experience. A non-profit I think very highly of is offering planning and advice. Now this is not part of their mission statement (as I understand it); but I believe it is coming from a place of caring and recognizing a need. My concern is they could do more damage than help, especially if they do not have staff with the proper training or experience.

On the opposite side of this coin is a family who is declining help because they don’t want to pay for it; they’d rather do everything themselves. Even if they’re able to handle everything on their own for their child, I would consider this to be short-sighted; because in at least half of the cases the child is going to outlive the parent(s) – and then what happens?

In the first example, I do not want people to think I’m saying don’t work with non-profits or other organizations. Rather, take the time to understand what their strengths are – we all have them. You don’t go to McDonald’s for the same reasons you eat at Umami Burger. As long as those strengths overlap areas you need help, or want to outsource, then you’ve found a good potential fit. From here it becomes about drilling into the cost vs perceived benefit. If it’s truly important to you, then consider it an investment, not an expense.

In the second case, I challenge you to exam your “why”. Are you trying to pinch pennies, or is this really your strong suit AND best use of your time. What is the contingency plan if something happens to you? Again, not saying you can’t or shouldn’t do something yourself; but understand life happens and if you’re doing it yourself you will need to build in contingencies.

Don’t underestimate what your time is worth, especially when measured in how you spend it with your loved one(s). Also, don’t take everything at face value – even if you’ve been working with an agency or organization for years. Due to the changing political landscape and the threats funding faces, many organizations may be overreaching their true capabilities. Not because they want to take advantage of anyone, quite the opposite (in my opinion). I believe this is happening because they want to HELP, and are doing whatever it takes to keep their doors open to assist populations who may not have anyone else.


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