When you work with a financial planner or coach in the Chicago, IL area, it’s easy to focus on money only. After all, that’s a part of the process! Looking at balance statements, talking about asset allocation, considering tax strategies, setting up budgets and cash flow, monitoring your net worth and projections – it all, literally, adds up.
But good financial planners and coaches will work with you on more than money. It’s crucial to establish a money-life connection.
What do we mean by that?
We mean that the purpose of money is about your entire life. Yes, it’s about having a net worth, saving for your children’s education, investing for retirement, and so on. But it’s also about the deeper level. What do you most want to do in life? Is your money supporting your values and beliefs?
Is it making you happy?
Your Goals and Purpose
Financial planners can help with wealth management but they can also help you plan your life. Knowing your personal goals are foundational to a truly comprehensive financial plan. We all have different financial situations and goals, no two individuals or families are the same.
Saving to purchase a second home, saving to start a business, establishing a foundation for charity, or making sure you and your spouse have a comfortable retirement are a few of the many financial priorities a person may have. Your personal goals automatically make the financial strategies you pursue different from those of people with different goals.
So we need to know your goals to have effective and meaningful financial strategies. Without being goal-oriented, financial strategies can become overly abstract, like the drive to have a certain net worth based on a figure plucked from thin air or the desire to have a large house because the neighbors do.
Pursuing financial things that are abstract and not connected to your goals can also keep you pursuing income in ways that don’t bring you happiness. You may stay at a job that has lost meaning just to bring in a robust income.
Some of your financial goals will certainly be about physical things and financial goals, such as cars, homes, and playthings ranging from boats to jewelry.
But some of them need to also be focused on values and psychological objectives. Your financial plans need to also answer these questions:
- What makes you happy? What do you need to make you happy?
- What do you want to have accomplished by the end of your life?
- What do you see your purpose as being?
- Why do you do what you do?
- What makes you feel joyful and replenished?
How to Establish Your Goals
Many people don’t really think about personal goals when they think about finances. In fact, some people may simply look upon financing planning as an opportunity to not think about money at all.
In fact, assessing your goals and discussing them with a financial planner that can act as your coach is an integral part of a financial plan.
When discussing the aspects of your financial life, you may want to discuss physical goals first. When you retire, what do you want to do? Visit grandchildren or travel? If so, your retirement savings and investments need to be designed to do that.
Then, move on to larger, more comprehensive goals. Since we don’t usually think about these, they need to be accessed thoughtfully.
Your goals likely center around at least some of the following:
- Family – raising a family, spending time with family, establishing relationships, creating meaningful experiences with family, building a legacy
- Friends – spending time with, having fun with, cultivating, and maintaining friendships
- Jobs – finding or creating meaningful work, changing work if it isn’t meaningful or satisfying, ensuring adequate income to meet goals, starting and running businesses, passing on the business to family
- Community – contributing to the community, meeting the needs of the community, finding and creating a community that shares your values, changing your community for the better
- Beliefs – working in concert with key beliefs (spiritual, religious, and so on), working to foster or realize beliefs
Write down some goals related to as many of these areas that matter to you. For family, for instance, you may want to establish an annual family get-together that doesn’t now occur. So the goal could be, a family get-together every August (or December, or May, or whatever month works). Where would it take place? What steps do you need to achieve your goals?
For friends, what goals do you want to accomplish? If it’s seeing your friends more, perhaps season tickets to the Cubs, White Sox, Bears (or team of choice) – or a weekly date to play tennis or go to a museum.
Are you happy with the work you do? If you are, great! If not, what would you rather do? What steps do you need to take to get there?
Which communities are you members of? (Think geographic, affiliation, hobbyist, spiritual – whatever works for you.) How do you contribute to them? How would you like to contribute? What steps do you need to take to get there?
What beliefs or values are most dear to you? How do you work or conduct your life in concert with those beliefs and values? Are you satisfied with that? Are you satisfied with your life’s purpose? If yes, great! If not, what steps do you need to take?
Some of these may not be overtly tied to finance. Others, though, may be in ways you may not expect. What if you’d like to go on an archeological dig with your grandchild? Work on climate change? Do you have the funds to do so? Can you leave a job to do so, or will these plans wait until retirement? Do you have enough in your retirement funds to do this?
Answering questions such as these can take time. You also need to pinpoint motivation for any changes you need to make.
One strategy is to start keeping a daily notebook where you jot down answers to the above questions as they occur to you. A newspaper article to random thought can trigger answers to these questions that you didn’t have at first blush!
Life planning, financial planning, and coaching are best done with qualified advisers. Talk to us today about your goals, plans, and values as well as your finances.
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!