Navigating with Meridian(s)

Three young  boys enjoying the beach

This past week, I was blessed to be able to spend some time at the beach with my kids. It always amazes me to stand with my feet in the surf and look out across the vast ocean. Such infinite possibilities, but so very scary to traverse. Ever since I read The Wave about giant monster waves, I can’t watch any of the ocean disaster movies (The Perfect Storm, The Finest Hours, etc.). And even without rogue waves, navigating without any visible landmarks is tricky.

Enter meridians. Meridians are the longitude lines that run from pole to pole around the earth. They bisect the latitude lines that run horizontally. In order to safely pilot a ship to the desired destination, the captain needs to know the ship’s relative position and the destination coordinates, measured in degrees of latitude and longitude. With that information, the captain can chart the course and navigate confidently.

And so, our firm’s name of Meridian is a nod to this concept…that clearly knowing where you are at financially and where you want to be allows you to navigate life with confidence. Building a financial plan that clearly assesses your current financial situation, orients your capital assets in the right direction, and is heading towards your desired destination is key to long term financial security.

But doing a financial plan once is not enough. Currents push and pull, tides rise and fall, and sometimes storms push us off course. The magic of planning is not in the initial plan, but in the constant course revision as life unfolds.

Recently, in two separate conversations with long term financial planning clients, each marveled at how different the retirement transition looked from when we first started planning a decade ago. One thought their business would be winding down, and instead they are growing by leaps and bounds, hiring staff to allow them more time to relax. Another marveled that they hadn’t retired when they first thought because they were enjoying their reduced work hours so much, and they just weren’t in a hurry to retire fully.

We have had other clients retire on the eve of the Great Recession or not be able to sell their house when real estate values fell. All required course adjustments. But, in each case, we were able to stop and help them assess their new location financially, and then get back on track to where they were headed.

So, we know life has a funny way of not working out exactly as planned…and that is why Meridian exists—to help each client chart their path, adjust as life happens, and arrive securely at their destination!!

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