As the saying goes, “Money can’t buy happiness.” But in our modern American society, money does provide the ability to do a lot of things. The challenge is that often to get more money, you have to give up something. Maybe it’s just working more total hours. Maybe, it’s working in less safe conditions. Maybe it’s working with very unpleasant people.
So, the trick is to strike a balance, where you don’t sacrifice too much and can get compensated pretty well. Then you diligently focus the money you have earned toward your most important priorities. But how do you get clarity on your priorities.
In our modern society it’s easy to become confused by all the marketing and societal pressures around us. To paraphrase humorist Robert Quillen, “It’s way too easy to spend money you don’t have to buy things you don’t need to impress people you don’t like.
That is why I advocate for holistic financial planning. Holistic financial planning starts with your goals and dreams. Then we carefully assess what it takes for those priorities to become real. Then we map out a reliable plan to get to those goals. And, the plan takes into account a balance between earning, spending and working; how much time you have; and your current resources. This plan is a dynamic guide that is built to adjust as you move forward and as life situations change. If you would like to talk with me about how a holistic financial plan might work for your family, I would be honored to visit with you. Just follow this LINK to find a time for us to talk.
If you would like to work on clarifying your priorities right now, I offer three questions to help you clarify what YOU really care about. These questions come from George Kinder, often called the father of Financial Life Planning.
The three questions are meant to be profound and personal. Consider them carefully and try to answer them based on your TRUE feelings. Don’t be distracted by what you think you SHOULD want. And for couples, I suggest that each of you answer the questions alone, then come together to discuss each question. Don’t be surprised to find some differences. The conversation should be very useful. So, here they are:
Question 1: What is Your Ideal Life?
Imagine that you are financially secure and that you have all the money you need for the rest of your life. How would you live your life? Would you change anything? What would you do?
Question 2: What Would You Change if You Knew You Only Had 5 Years Left to Live?
This time, you visit your doctor who tells you that you have five to ten years left to live. The good part is that you won’t ever feel sick. The bad news is that you will have no notice of the moment of your death. What will you do in the time you have remaining? Will you change your life, and how will you do it?
Question 3: What Would You Do If You Knew You Had 24 Hours Left?
This time, your doctor shocks you with the news that you have only one day left to live. Notice what feelings arise as you confront your very real mortality. Reflecting on your life, on all your accomplishments, as well as on all the things that will remain undone, ask yourself: What did I miss? Who did I not get to be? What did I not get to do?
You may notice a couple things:
- It’s likely you will notice more experiences and values in your answers. Most humans don’t put on their tombstone, “I wish I would have worked more.”
- You may notice a disconnect between the answers you give and your current lifestyle or work style. Consider that. Study it.
- You might find that some changes are obvious. That’s great. Adjusting and realigning your actions to better line up with your values is a wonderful thing.
And, maybe, you find that you would like some help sorting all this out. I suggest that a great place to start is with a visit with an experienced, well-trained CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. A financial planner who is your advocate in all things – a fiduciary planner – and is paid with an advisory fee -- can give you great perspective on putting a game plan in place to execute a life that has action in alignment with values.
Yes, I am a CFP® professional. I’m always a fiduciary and I work on a fee basis. And yes, I’m still taking on a few great families to be part of my financial planning practice. So, if you would like to talk about clarifying your financial goals, I would be honored to help. Follow this LINK to find a time for us to talk.
If this article has you thinking about your own circumstances, contact my office at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am always happy to meet with people who are working on their retirement plans. Dunncreek Advisors does not provide legal or tax advice, nor is this article intended to do so.