3 Questions To Start A Financial Plan
The majority of our focus when dealing with our money is on our spending and savings. Our common view is that we will save over a long career to build up our 401k and other investment accounts so that we can retire one day.
This is necessary and wise but there is much more to gain in looking at our values and linking them to our money decisions. This thought of combining our values and money is referred to as “life planning.”
Answering these three questions can help you become clear on what is important to you.
I think you will find that answering these questions can energize you to get a clearer picture of why you work and save and retire with purpose. It will also give you a list of goals that you can accomplish over time.
Question #1: Dreams
I want you to imagine that you are financially secure, that you have enough money to take care of your needs, now and in the future. The question is, how would you live your life? What would you do with the money? Would you change anything? Let yourself go. Don’t hold back your dreams. Describe a life that is complete, that is richly yours.
This question should outline your dreams. Maybe you would travel the world or buy a vacation home. You might already have a list of things you would do if you just had the money saved up. Are there important charities or causes that you would like to support? For some, just having the financial freedom to go anywhere at anytime would bring joy.
Question #2: Bucket List
This time, you visit your doctor who tells you that you have five to ten years left to live. The good part is that you won’t ever feel sick. The bad news is that you will have no notice of the moment of your death. What will you do in the time you have remaining to live? Will you change your life, and how will you do it?
This question forces you to seize the day. You have time to travel places or accomplish goals. You can visit and spend more time with family, friends and others that have made a meaningful impact on your life. Most likely, you will not have an unlimited amount of money to do all the things you dreamed of in answering question #1. However, the focus shifts from dreams to things that have meaning in your life.
Question #3: Relationships
This time, your doctor shocks you with the news that you have only one day left to live. Notice what feelings arise as you confront your very real mortality. Ask yourself: What dreams will be left unfulfilled? What do I wish I had finished or had been? What do I wish I had done? What did I miss?
This question leads me to think of those that I have the closest relationship with. My family and friends. I imagine many of you will have the same feelings. Answering the questions of what you will not be able to do or accomplish will crystalize your life goals.
While numbers are important and many like myself enjoy working with them, aligning your values with your money can be transformational to energizing you. Whether fulfillment in your work, purpose in your retirement, satisfaction in your spending or confidence in your saving, these three questions should give you a blueprint to build the life you desire.
A Good Financial Plan Will Get You to Where You Want to Go But That Begs the Question of Where Do You Want to Go?
You are more than you money! Your financial plan will be developed to achieve what is most important in your life. We do not deal in dreams, but we must start there. First, you dream, and then to realize those dreams, you change. Goals are dreams with deadlines.
Shore Financial is a fee-only, tax-focused financial planning firm located in Monmouth Beach, NJ.
Joseph Vecchio CPA, CFP®, MBA is the firm’s President and has dedicated his professional life to the finance and accounting professions.
Joe believes that people are being exploited by financial salespeople who are merely motivated by quotas, product sales and commission-based income! Shore Financial Planning was founded to provide peace of mind through conflict-free, value-added advice.
When you work with Shore Financial Planning, the financial advice we provide is ALWAYS in your best interest.
As a Certified Financial Advisor, NAPFA Professional, and Fiduciary Advisor, Joseph Vecchio offers unbiased and conflict-free financial advice & retirement planning services.