This week was the 72nd anniversary of when 160,000 Allied troops landed on the heavily fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany, often referred to as D-Day.   Led by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Allied forces ultimately overcame massive casualties and gained a crucial foothold in Normandy from which to launch their assault on Hitler’s army.  D-Day was a well calculated and heavily planned military operation that involved more than 5,000 ships, 13,000 aircraft and spanned 50 miles of shoreline.

“Plans are nothing; planning is everything.”

-Dwight D. Eisenhower

Remembering this historic event brings to mind one of my favorite quotes from General Eisenhower who said that “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.”  Eisenhower had just orchestrated one of the largest land invasions of all time, so what did he mean by this comment?  The Allied forces could plan whatever they wanted, but the only way to accomplish their goal was through detailed planning.  What’s the difference, you may ask: plans are static, planning is dynamic.

It’s been my experience that General Eisenhower’s comments apply not only to the battle field, but also to retirement.  Many a pre-retiree have had a static, one-time retirement plan put together for them.  It may be a nice snapshot in time, but how valuable will that plan be over the next 3, 5, 10 years?  What happens when your earlier assumptions change?  How do measure the impact of an early or delayed retirement?  This is the value of the financial planning process.  Real planning requires regular, ongoing dialogue; a continual process of evaluating goals, comparing assumptions with results, and ultimately making adjustments based upon a sound, prudent process.

Your retirement goals may not require the support of 13,000 aircraft, but they certainly deserve the benefits of the financial planning process to properly navigate a dynamic and ever changing world.  Most people plan to retire at some point.  I hope you are heeding Eisenhower’s advice and planning to retire instead.