I’ve only recently realised that I’d never really thought about what money means to me apart from a fairly basic instinct that the more of it you have the better. That changed when I heard a well-known American financial advisor, Carl Richards, say that most people do not realise that the way we use money should be aligned to what makes us happy. I think this stems from the fact that many of us never take the time to connect where we are now to where we want to go and to how the money we have can be used to ensure we get there
In the past I’ve operated like many Financial Advisors, helping clients organise Financial Products (Mortgage, Pensions, Investment, Life Insurance). I’ve been doing this for almost 30 years. This traditional approach is anchored in Fact finds, Spreadsheets and Risk Profile Questionnaires. In many ways it’s backward looking, “how has my investment done over the last year’’, rather than looking to the future to ensure that the money we have allows us to do the things that make us happy.
Having thought about this, read and listened extensively to some of the best Financial Advisors in the UK, Europe and the US to see how we could improve the service we offered our clients, I now see that money’s only use is the freedom it gives us to do the things that make us happy. Think about that for a moment…………. if we approach Financial Planning from this perspective it totally changes the conversation we should be having with our Financial Advisor. It means you should first map out where you are now and then think carefully about where you want to go, what you really want to do with your life.
A good Financial Advisor can help you to figure out how to get from where you are now to where you want to go by developing your detailed Lifestyle Financial plan. This plan will be at the core of all financial decisions you make for years and decades to come including those relating to the (fairly boring) financial products you might need to ensure you achieve your goals.
Making financial decisions without a Financial plan is approaching things in a piecemeal way without any consideration being given to your overall goals and objectives, don’t do it! This is the old fashioned way of doing things, embrace the new, take the time to work with a real Financial Advisor and put a detailed Lifestyle Financial Plan in place. The sooner you do the sooner you can start spending more time doing the things that make you happy!!