It’s important to clearly distinguish between inputs (assumptions) in a financial model, and output (calculations). This is typically achieved through formatting conventions, such as making inputs blue and formulas black. I’ve been saying that we should have goals before we even spend a single cent in investments. How will you know what you want to invest in, if you don’t even know what you want to achieve? Customers want to know their money and investments are managed well and will lead to future financial security for themselves and for their families. A well-written mission statement earns the trust of current and prospective clients by defining goals that speak to this need. Understanding what you’re working so hard to save towards will only be a motivator. Saving without any specific goals or direction is a lot more difficult, and normally leads to failure. Writing down our goals gives our financial planning greater effectiveness. We become pro-active in handling our finances instead of being reactive to circumstances around us. Ikea, on the other hand, starts its mission statement with something that could be any company anywhere. “Our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people.” To its credit, it goes on to define a “rest of the mission” that could only be IKEA.