Put some ‘heart’ into financial planning
“Everybody has a creative potential and from the moment you can express this creative potential, you can start changing the world.”
Financial Planning has gotten far too predictable. It has lost its heart. Every good marketer knows that we as people make decisions with our emotions and not with our logic. Think about how you spend your own money. We like to think that we spend our money on what we NEED, but the reality of most bank or credit card statements tells me that we spend money on what we WANT.
I am not suggesting that our wants are necessarily bad, in fact, the part of us that understands our wants lives not in our logical mind, but in our creative mind. Why then, when we put ourselves in the context of financial planning do we typically place our heart to the side and discuss things like “financial goals” and “financial benchmarks.” We have just acted like our money is not connected to our emotions, which is clearly not the case. I mentioned in my last column the idea of getting creative with our financial planning. I realize that this may be a new idea for many and wanted to take a moment to walk through an exercise that just might be the start of a new way of financial thinking for you. I believe that how we spend our money is a direct reflection of who we are at our core. I believe that our money SHOULD reflect our most important desires and not be left to the draining power of sloppy and heartless planning. Remember, the only real value of wealth is what you choose to do with it. Let’s tap into your creative mind and then use the mechanics of financial planning to make it happen. This will activate your wealth in a way that many never experience. Let’s start with tapping into your creative side by walking through a short exercise. Grab a cup of coffee, pen and paper. Go ahead… I’ll wait.
Now I want you to imagine that you have just gotten the difficult news that you have only one year left to live. Think about your family, your faith, your work and anything else that matters to you and the impact this would have. Now I want you to take the time to list the top 10 things that you want to do before you take your last breath and number them by importance. Got that finished? I have some good news. You now have three more months to live. That’s right. You accomplished your bucket list and now have three more months to live. Now write down the last three things that you want to spend your life doing. Think about it and write them down. These are the things that live at the CORE of who you are. These are the things that your money should be primarily positioned to support and you should not wait until the last three months of your life to pursue them.
Now use the power of solid planning to make it happen. Maybe an additional example would be helpful to see creative planning in action. Let me introduce you to Mary (not her real name). Mary is recently widowed and was blessed with a wonderful marriage and close lifelong friends. Mary’s husband was known for the wonderful birthday celebrations that he would coordinate for his wife every year. While she counts these memories as priceless blessings, they can now be difficult annual reminders. Mary has a desire to honor her husband’s memory and a heart to share her wealth and faith with her friends. Mary has decided to throw a birthday party and spiritual retreat on a cruise ship and has offered the experience to many at no charge. This would never have come about through a traditional financial planning experience. Remember to scale this to your situation. A pontoon boat on the lake can be just as powerful when your finances reflect your heart. Creative planning takes some time, but the results are spectacular. Take the time to understand your heart, and then do everything you can to make your money support those core desires.
RC Arseneau is a Certified Financial Planner and lives with his family in Delaware. Please submit any questions or topic requests to AskRc@mail.com.
The information and opinions in this column are provided only for educational and entertainment purposes. Any reference to a financial product or strategy is not to be considered an endorsement or recommendation. The information is of a general nature only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be used, relied upon, or treated as a substitute for specific professional financial, legal or tax advice. Investment Performance may vary due to timing and expenses. Rc recommends that you obtain your own independent professional advice before making any decision in relation to your particular requirements or circumstances.