If You Can’t Do It Right, It’s Not the Right Time to Do It

How do you know if it is time to do something?

Not too long ago, I stumbled upon an all-purpose answer to any financial question that begins, “Is now the right time to …”

The simple elegance of it hit me with the power of a Mike Tyson punch, only it brought a smile to my face. You see, I was discussing the best time to buy a car for an upcoming article and this work of art flowed from my lips:

“If you can’t do it right, it’s not the right time to do it.”

As a guy who sometimes struggles with multisyllabic words, this was nearly perfect. Fourteen words, three of them repeated twice and none of them longer than five letters.

Sweet.

I’m always getting questions asking about the right time to do this or that. The do-it-right approach provides a pretty sound answer for how to time financial decisions.

If you can’t do it right, it’s not the right time to do it.

Beautiful.

And it will be the central theme for a series of upcoming articles:

  • Car buying. Getting it right with payments, down payments and your personal budget are all part of the equation with your next set of wheels.
  • Home buying. Timing is critical when you weigh the biggest purchase any of us will make.
  • Education. The Census Bureau puts the lifetime earnings bump of a bachelor’s degree at a cool million. So, education is all good? Well, not if you don’t finance it right.
  • Investing.  I’m all about investing, but without laying the groundwork and a well-executed plan you could be spinning your wheels.
  • Leaving the military. In today’s environment, it might not be a choice. That puts a premium on getting the finances right for an exit, whether or not it’s in your immediate plans.
  • Having a baby. Yes, I know this is another area where you can’t always control the timing, but with a newlywed daughter I know it’s a discussion worth having.

Your timing can’t always be perfect, but making major financial moves the right way can make all the difference in your long-term financial security.

About the Author

JJ Montanaro
Joseph “J.J.” Mon­ta­naro is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ prac­ti­tioner at USAA with more than 19 years of expe­ri­ence in the finan­cial ser­vices indus­try. JJ also served in the U.S. Army for six years on active duty, and in 2009, he retired as a lieu­tenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve.