How financially satisfied are you? Some people may be financially satisfied if their finances are in alignment with their peer group, in Libertyville, IL, and elsewhere. If their financial plans, income, returns, net worth, and purchasing power are roughly the same as the people around them, that may mean they feel financially satisfied.
However, financial satisfaction can mean something different to different people. Just because your finances seem similar to your neighbors, that doesn’t mean they are and it doesn’t necessarily mean you (or they) are financially satisfied.
Here are a few ways to explore what financial satisfaction could mean for you:
Consider What Truly Matters to You
Tracking along with your peer group is not necessarily the way to feel truly happy with your finances and your life. Feeling content with having what your peer group has may only be a path to not feeling dissatisfied with what you have – i.e. not feeling envious of someone else’s house, vacation plans, or money for retirement.
To feel truly satisfied and happy, you may want to consider what truly matters to you. What are your goals? What do you want to spend the rest of your life doing? What constitutes a rich life for you, emotionally and psychologically?
It may be a good idea to sit with a pencil and paper and write down your thoughts or meet with a financial coach, and really consider what you most want to do in the future. Do you want to spend time with your grandchildren? Research your family history? Travel extensively? Have a summer (or winter) home in a different area? Start a different business in retirement than the one you were involved with most of your life?
Once you do contemplate your goals and feelings about what most matters to you, it clarifies what you may need to do with your money and your plans – and what you don’t need to do. If you want to research your family history in the Chicago area most, you may not want a summer or winter home in a completely different area! Thus, there is no need to save toward the purchase of a second home.
Conversely, if you very much do want a second home, you can put your energies toward that: both saving and learning about the new area.
Creating a financial plan and life planning often go hand-in-hand, but they are definitely not the same for each person – simply because what we most want out of life is not necessarily the same as other people.
What Not to Do Financially
Once you bring your own goals and definition of financial satisfaction to the fore, you may also realize what not to do financially. Some very common actions and thoughts that may seem methods of honing yourself financially may not actually be helpful to you at all.
For example, being very preoccupied with how much money you earn can drain your energies for more important tasks. In fact, it may prove to be more effective to examine your goals for now, as well as 20, 30, and even 40 years out to know whether you are earning enough to accomplish what is most important to you now and then.
You may be doing fine. If your goal is to spend more time with your family, seeking to raise your income via a promotion that would take you away from home more often might be detrimental to your goals, not helpful to them.
The same is true of retirement plans. You may be aiming toward a retirement nest egg figure of $1 million or $5 million or $10 million – these amounts sound like great goals and may be reassuring. But until you know what your most cherished plans are for retirement, you won’t know what your retirement nest egg figure should be.
In other words, your income, retirement nest egg, and investments should be pegged to your goals. They should not be pegged to what the Joneses have, what you overhear fellow golfers have, or any other figure that may not pertain to what you want out of life.
How to Project Your Needs Using Financial Planning
In general, a financial plan includes the following:
- A review of cash flow (your income and expenditures every month), plus a plan to correct any issues, such as debt
- Investments, including an emergency fund for up to 6 months’ worth of salary and savings for your goals
- Retirement funds, including asset allocation
- Educational savings for children and grandchildren, if relevant
- Risk management, including adequate insurance for all your assets (cars, home, etc.)
- Estate planning, to plan for older age and plan for the disposition of your assets to beneficiaries
It may be a good idea to sit down with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™Professional and discuss your risk tolerance as well as work out a plan for all of these areas.
Many people, for example, harbor some anxiety about whether they have enough saved for retirement, even if they seem to have a comfortable nest egg. The very fact that many people don’t work and earn in retirement (if that’s your plan) may make you nervous.
A financial advisor who specializes in life planning, though, can work with you to forecast how much money you’ll need a month to month and also help ensure that you have enough savings to be comfortable.
They may also be able to save you from the perils that befall too many people in retirement – not realizing the things that should be planned for. Many people may assume that monthly expenditures drop once people are retired, because they no longer need certain things, like a commute to work.
But in fact, the amount of money one needs in retirement, again, depends on your personal goals and your circumstances. Some people will no longer have mortgage payments once they retire; other people will.
Older people may need more money for some things, such as healthcare than they did when they were younger. Older people generally need more medical attention as they age. You may want at some point to retrofit your home to be more comfortable as you age in place. Your healthcare budget may need to go up in retirement.
Your expense forecasts may also include a plan for the effects of inflation, which can run about 2 percent per year. Over a 30-year retirement, that can make a difference in your monthly budget amounts.
The wisest way to be financially satisfied may be to work with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional who specializes in life-financial balance. A financial advisor who specializes in life planning can help you to set the goals that matter the most to you and chart your course to financially achieve them.
At Prism Planning Partners, we are CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™️ Professionals committed to facilitating important questions so that we can help you explore all of your opportunities. We offer a broad array of financial planning and consulting services for our clients-including retirement, investment, and estate planning.
Contact us today and let us illuminate your possibilities!