What’s Your Needs Assessment?

Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.
~ Michael Jordan


by Pete Ferguson

Several years back I bought a 350 horse-powered SUV that had video entertainment, heated leather seats and a hefty price tag. We had owned a travel trailer for several years and had used it often, but our current SUV was underpowered and couldn’t take it far. At the time, diesel gasoline was $3.02 a gallon.

The new truck was a great truck and towed our trailer well all three times in two years – diesel had moved to almost $5 a gallon and we could only go 8-10 miles with that gallon.

When I finally humbled myself enough to conduct a family “needs analysis,” it was revealed that we didn’t like maintaining a trailer, and most often only 2-3 people sat in this monster truck at a time.

Steph summed it up well: “I spend all week in a 3,000 square foot house cooking, cleaning, and picking up after kids – why do I want to spend my weekends in a 300 square foot trailer cooking, cleaning, and picking up after kids?”

So we dumped it all.

We now have a used SUV bought with cash for rare occasions and two four-door cars – also bought with cash – and love taking vacations using hotels/motels and airlines. It was a very expensive lesson – despite being extremely impressed with all my former truck and trailer “could” do, we found we didn’t need 85% of the bells and whistles.

When we did a proper needs assessment, we realized our greater need was to be debt free. We also realized we were paying $700 a month (+ gas and insurance) for this ridiculous combo but couldn’t afford to go on vacation! – Stupid Tax as Dave Ramsey has appropriately coined it.

If you don’t have a plan, you will see the world as your oyster. Trouble is, you may not like eating oysters, especially one as big as the world …

And so it is living life without a plan. You have no carefully chosen destination, and as a result, you never “arrive.”

The same holds true for when you have a flawed plan. If your plan – as mine was – is to outdo your neighbors, you will arrive, only to find that the destination is not really where you wanted to be.

Carefully examine that end regularly and refine it. If you continually do this, eventually your day-to-day actions will take care of themselves and your eyes will be open to the resources and options which are lying right at your feet – but you were too blind to see.

What story of life are you writing? How does it end?


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