One of my clients called me out of the blue the other day and asked me to change her address from Omaha to a condo in Florida.  A few days earlier she had abruptly quit her job, put her house on the market, and was getting on a plane two days hence and heading to the Sunshine State.

My first response was “That’s awesome!”  I was really excited for her.  A small part of me wanted to pack my bags and do something similar.  And then the “planner” in me kicked in.  “We should review your distribution allocation.  Are you going to get a job while you’re there?  Are you going to buy a house?  What do you plan on doing with your time?”  Her response?  “I’ll figure it out when I get there.  It was time for a change.”

I pondered that for a second and thought, you know what, that’s fantastic.  Too often we can get so caught up in the planning—the numbers, the strategy, the X’s and O’s—that we forget about just living life and being spontaneous.

Retirement could last 30 years.  Can you really plan for that?  In some ways, yes, but in other ways, no.  Think back to when you were 18.  Did you have a life plan for ages 18 to 48?  You probably had no idea how you were going to make rent that month, let alone what you would be doing a year or two down the road.

But wasn’t that an amazing time?  You took a risks.  Tried new experiences.  Met new people.  Overcame obstacles.  Set goals for yourself.  Rose to the challenge.  Laughed.  Cried.  Lived life.

So a tip of the hat to my client this week for reminding me that sometimes the best plan is having no plan at all.

How the U.S. debt downgrade will affect your retirement (and what to do about it).
Are you a system thinker?