Almost every aspect of our lives has a financial implication. Whether we want to spend more time with our children or to spend half the year travelling, money is our means.
Part of the financial planning process is to invite clients to answer a series of questions which help them to articulate what really matters to them and how they want to live their lives. Sometimes they discover their most deeply held desires and needs and recognise they have to make a radical change of direction. And sometimes they discover that they are truly happy being, doing and having things as they are. More often, people realise that there are things they can do and changes they can make which will enhance their lives immeasurably. And nearly always money is at the root of what is holding them back. And with the right plan, it is money that will help them to move forward.
People are not used to talking to a financial planner about their lives, only about their money. This seems illogical to me. How can we create a financial plan if we do not know what you want from your life? I believe financial planning is a collaborative effort between client and practitioner with the client’s needs, concerns, goals and desires at the centre of the process. I call it a Financial Life Plan and I believe it can help us to live a fulfilled life.
In my experience it’s not easy to work out what you truly want from your life – it takes time, patience and, usually, a practitioner with the skill to listen for the clues that we all give when we start to talk about ourselves, our lives and our loved ones. Money is a powerful facilitator and with the right financial architecture anything is possible. Here are the top five areas people want to improve their lives in:
1. Family / Friends / Relationships
2. Values and Authenticity
4. Community / Charity / Giving Back
5. Experience difference cultures and countries / Travel the World
Notice its family, friends and relationships that top the list – more time with my children, more time with my partner and, sometimes, more time with me…for me. With the right financial plan, you can get what you want – do you really want it?