THE ECONOMIC BLUEPRINT: The season for self-reflection


One can never underestimate the ability to reflect and reset.

Every year, a couple of my best friends and I go up to Northern Michigan for our annual “boys’ weekend,” which, for us, involves hiking a portion of the North County Trail, football, and of course a micro-brewery trip. We’ve been going for a few years and now have a streamlined itinerary. Head to the Petoskey area, visit a local brewery, hike until our legs turn to jelly, and watch Sparty play a night game on the road.

I love taking our trip in autumn as I find autumn to be the best time of the year for me to assess, reflect, and draw up a game plan for self-improvement. After all, summer is over, the kids are back to school, and everyone wants to finish the remainder of the year strong.
If you are willing to jump on my “Autumn Self-Reflection” bandwagon, when considering how to improve personally and professionally please, please, please be sure to assess, reflect, and draw up a game plan to ensure your financial victory.

Start at the beginning

People who feel confident about their finances may be adopting the following planning strategies: they make maximum contributions to their qualified retirement plans, own their house with a reasonable mortgage, save for their children’s education, and invest in a diversified selection of low-cost mutual funds and exchange traded funds.

Someone executing on that plan would feel good and they may look no further. But there are many things that could go wrong, potentially leaving someone dramatically exposed if they stopped there. When reviewing, the first question should be: can failure be an option? Spoiler alert ...

Failure cannot be an option

What impact would a detrimental life event have on this person’s plan? Life events such as: a major surprise expense, long-term care, a lawsuit, lost income due to injury or illness, incapacitation, a premature death, or a tax increase?

Starting 50 yards into a 100-yard race doesn’t mean you will win, it means you got off to a great start, but winning the race means being great all the way through. When it comes to financial planning, it starts with protecting what you already have. Next comes improving flexibility and liquidity. Once the potential impact of risks is minimized, then we can take the final strides to the finish line. When it comes to financial management, those final strides are growing wealth via retirement accounts, home equity, and investments.

With a little fresh air, and the ability to reflect and reset, all of us will be ready to take on the fourth quarter with a head of steam.
Attorney Kyle Zwiren works with Financial Architects Inc., an independently-owned company located in Farmington Hills. Zwiren and his team serve attorneys and other professionals to help them design financial plans in line with their goals and based on optimal efficiency. He practiced law prior to becoming a Financial Architect and left the practice to follow his passion. To talk to Zwiren about other topics featured in The Economic Blueprint, email him at or call him at 248-482-3622.