I’ve often said physical, emotional, nutritional and financial well-being have some common threads. While I am solid with my financial well-being (spoiler alert…not all financial planners are!), I freely admit to not having all of the others down. Acknowledging this, I’ve taken a more determined look at my nutritional and physical well-being during this Covid hibernation. Due to this heightened focus, I recently spoke with a health coach. Reading her social media posts and talking with her has cemented my belief in the common threads underlying our professions.
In a recent call, while discussing these common themes, she mentioned three key words she uses when coaching: plan, intention and balance. She had many other wise words to share with me, which I will get into in a future post, but for now, I want to focus on these three crucial themes as they tie into financial planning.
- Plan: Let’s start with the end in mind. Be it health or financial, what are your goals? What would you like to achieve? After all, we need to have a target to aim for in our plan. Once we know the goal(s), we can step back and study your current habits and overall situation. While a health coach might ask about your eating and exercise habits, I will inquire about your current financial habits. Knowing those things, we can both determine what’s working and what’s not working. Through this process, we build a plan, which offers clear and actionable steps centrally focused on your goals.
- Intention: Can you make a bag of Cheetos disappear? Is the exercise equipment covered in dust? Does the bonus check or stock proceeds get spent? Regardless of which example may apply to you, was that your intention? While no one expects perfect execution with every step, you want to be as intentional with your actions as you can be. It’s those intentional steps that are part of creating and implementing a successful plan.
- Balance: A plan does not mean you can’t have fun. You need to have balance. I’ve tried some diets in the past and while I experience some short-term success, they weren’t sustainable long term. From my experience it was because they were too rigid and did not provide much balance. Just like diet and exercise, your financial planning requires a balance. In other words, my financial planning work is not solely focused on the big and long-term goals like college and retirement. A successful plan expects and supports the things we want to do now and understands you may “slip” from time to time. The slice of cake, the bottle of wine, the weekend getaway, the new car. These are all part of the balance.
A recent example of Plan, Intention and Balance at work
I recently heard from a client* who has always maintained a goal of buying an exotic sports car. He found one he loved and called to ask my opinion. When we spoke, I started by asking what his partner thought of it; after all they are a team. When he said she was on board with the purchase, we continued.
They have a plan in place, focused on college for their young children and retirement. They have been excellent stewards of their finances and have been intentional with proactive and regular savings. Based on our planning work, I know they are on track to reach their two main goals. With that in mind, I told him any “extra” could be spent as they wish. In other words, the car purchase was not going to impede their goals of college and retirement. In his case, this provided some balance between the long-term goals and his dream of having this sports car. This one example highlights all three of those key themes.
Does the work you are doing around your financial goals involve plan, intention and balance? If you want to learn more, I invite you to reach out to us.
*This example is not indicative of any future performance, your experience may vary.