How do you find a way to discuss the Life you want and the Future you'll get? Without answering to this question you could get any future ...and not the one you're wanting. It's like having no say in the matter! But if we connect your personal values now to the wealth and decisions you make through these years, I promise you can accomplish a freedom and sense of purpose and independence for your life and those dearest to you.
Values-based Financial Planning
Many in life have an awkward relationship with money. It’s gone when they need it most. When they have some, they spend more. Heirs spend it too quickly. Winners lose it even faster. "Boomers" may believe they’ll fix the problem later… A few say the government has to deal with it, or “our children will take care of us”. Everyone says there's no time to talk about it now. How do YOU feel about that? How is this likely to work out for you or your family?
Beneath this is an enormous fear many people have, that they’ll run out of money some day, perhaps even repeating a misery they've already experienced. That’s like swimming across a five-mile lake when you've only done 60 laps in a pool. What do you do with that kind of fear? Bury it and accept whatever comes?
Others may feel that No amount of money will fix what isn't working in their lives.
What if we put 90 minutes once or twice a year into planning the next 30 or 40 years of comfort, purpose, and personal fulfillment! Is life worth this tiny investment, to arrange an abundant and satisfying future?
Value of Planning
Most people suppose planning could be valuable. Few get to do it. Imagine the value of each hour when people who get financial planning end up with two to four times as much wealth as those who missed out on the planning. (Or in senior years to see your income lasting to age 95 instead of 78.)
Over time, an hour or so of financial planning can be worth a year's income! It effectively costs nothing to plan your success! What’s costly is the impact of not planning!
I always focus with a question, “What is most important to you about….?” If I didn’t begin with such a question we could be stuck talking solely about money and a rudderless focus on investment returns. These can be meaningless without knowing the life you want.
Money on its own is boring to far more people than you'd expect. Returns are also fickle. Story is told of King Midas: all he touched turned to gold. It was a prayer answered; a curse unleashed. Money is poverty without the dear ones and life and health you can cherish.
Deeper and true value is in the Life you live, the activities you enjoy, hazards you want to avoid, securing loved ones, making a larger-than-life impact in a way of your own choosing. So…“what is most important in your financial planning for the life you choose?"
Value of “WHAT-is-Most-Important-to-YOU?”
I ask this of every client. We find common themes, just as most have two arms and legs, and share some views about the future. But like DNA our values-structure is unique to each of us, and to each family. Capturing and expressing this within your Certified Financial Plan sets a personal design for your future. We wouldn’t hike Patagonia without a map; nor should we navigate the future without documenting your VALUES that guide the journey and milestones along the way.
“Never Run Out of Money”
This is a values-statement many share in their own unique words. If we think about this, there are many ways to run out of money, whether from low-interest investments, severe losses, rising health costs, or just outliving our money. This is why we design our process in terms of Life-Income-Mandates so we can sustain a platform to never, never run out of money.
Not everyone’s goal …but if this is you, your plan must support a vigorous lifestyle now without impoverishing you later. How can assets permit high spending in early retirement, plus ensure lasting income through our 80s and 90s? Without a plan, will you be looking for work at 78, wiping tables at 83, hustling an MLM at 91? Without a sufficient plan there’s Trudy who told me twenty years ago, “If we’d known we were going to live so long….” and her voice trailed off painfully as their money had expired.
“Gotta Get Out Of This Place”
Some humming with Eric Burdon and The Animals have been counting days for 10 years or more, waiting to flee the bureaucracy, demands and stress of their current work. This is a "value" yet with a potentially negative trajectory. What if the money doesn’t last? How will you manage new and unanticipated expenses? As a cartoon once asked, “What kind of work would you like to do in your retirement?” Let's define what health and wealth will mean as you step into the ongoing horizons of your retirement. (See Life Horizons...Assuring Income for Life)
“Take care of us, Help our children”
A couple speak of remaining independent without burdening their children (40s/50s) who already shoulder a great many burdens in work and family life. They expand this to say they want to continue owning their home, traveling 3x/year, while managing health costs and comfort while they age (view: Health Inflation >10% annually), while also leaving a legacy to endear their names among great-grandchildren long into the future.
Some Luxuries – Comfort – Freedom – Confidence
Your answers here, and how you view your future, give the unique DNA for your financial planning. From this we can build the “Mandates” that align life and wealth in a map of your future. “If this is the life you want, what is the financial structure that could guarantee lasting success in your personal goals?”
We don’t change your DNA but we adapt to changing circumstances and dreams along the way. Someone who thought they’d make four extensive trips each year found the experience a bit much and now prefers two long distance trips and two shorter vacations. Another retired fully, only to begin a consulting career to share their skills and experience on a part-time basis for the next five or ten years, still remaining fully true to their underlying values. Some have taken on volunteer and philanthropic activities to channel their capacity to give and impact wider community for good. Not a few have adult-children whose job-losses required family support for a season. Health or illness can also reshape our goals or the urgency of our life values.
Satisfaction in Self-Understanding
Nothing is more strategic or personally fulfilling than understanding your unique values for your life and the shape this brings to your wealth and sense of wellbeing. Most people are never given an opportunity to discuss their purposes, goals and dreams when making deposits at any kind of financial institution. That is a sad truth. If your story and values are missing, how likely is it you'll reach the destination you want?
Without a sense of your values and wishes, your future could wither away at 3% returns or it could melt away 1/3 to 1/2 every 7-10 years in stock market crashes. Between these extremes, if you live long enough to spend all but the home you're living in, will you find yourself alone and bereft of support? So looking at this would you say, aligning wealth with the life you want to enjoy, is truly a "core value" for your financial planning? (Please share your comments below.)
“Values-based Financial Planning” can optimize income and resources for the life you choose, the joy you want, the purpose and meaning your life can represent while you living …and even long after you're gone.Subscribe above for regular updates… Learning modules - register via Home Page. Amazon: “A Lifetime Of Wealth — And How Not To Lose It.” Brian Weatherdon, MA CFP CLU CPCA MDRT 905-637-3500 x 223 Brian@SovereignWealth.ca