Do you ever feel stuck in a rut when it comes to financial decisions? Perhaps you think you should be saving more but you aren’t. Maybe you have a plan mapped out but you still don’t feel in tune with what you should be doing to achieve it. Well, you aren’t alone! The solution could be financial life planning. You might be wondering what financial life planning is and how it’s different from financial planning. I’m happy to explain.
What’s the Difference Between Financial Planning and Financial Life Planning?
Financial planning concentrates on your financial goals and the analysis for achieving those goals. For example, what do the numbers say is achievable? If we change the dollar amount of a certain goal, what do we get in return? How much needs to be saved today so that you can have the spending you want in the future? All of these questions are certainly factors in the equation and the numbers shouldn’t be ignored! They’re a reality of life. However, this approach can present a limited view because of it’s narrow focus. And it can be difficult to derive energy (or motivation) from a number on a page that represents your future. With this approach, your goals are important but the scope is mostly through a lens of numbers and projections.
Financial life planning is a more holistic approach to financial planning because it takes the conversation and focus one step further. Financial life planning concentrates on your vision first and the numbers second. The numbers still matter but they aren’t the main driver. Life planning starts by defining your vision (which could be something you haven’t thought about in a long time). For example, what gives you purpose and what truly matters to you? What makes your eyes light up when you talk about it? Are you living the life you want and if not, how can we change that? What does a day in retirement look like and how can you experience elements of that now? Or if you are retired, how can you make each day count? Without addressing these questions (in a safe and non-judgmental way), we can’t paint a complete picture. And without the complete picture in view, it can be more difficult to follow through and achieve goals. At times it can even be difficult to care about them.
Financial Life Planning Could Be a Better Approach For You
For many, life isn’t just about dollars and cents! Ebenezer Scrooge is the perfect example of this. Life is about the memories we treasure and the people we experience those memories with. Similarly, financial goals aren’t really about the numbers. They are about a future experience or feeling we’d like to have, or an experience or feeling we want for our children.
When behavior shifts are necessary or when money habits need to be adjusted, numbers on a page don’t always motivate us to make a change. They can on occasion, depending on your personality. But for many it’s the “why” or the vision behind the numbers that help us to continue reaching for that goal. Your core values will impact your actions and if there’s misalignment between your goals and actions, there’s a reason. Life planning helps to illuminate this through exploration and coaching. How can a planner coach you in the most effective way if they don’t know what your values are?
Financial life planning aims to better align your money with your values. This way you can utilize money as a tool to help you live the life you want – both today and in the future. The ultimate goal is for you to live fully and achieve what truly matters to you.
Blue Mountain Financial Planning utilizes skills from the Accredited Financial Counselor® (AFC®) certification to help you reflect on your goals and progress. If you already know what you want and you just need help with the numbers, that’s fine too! The focus of the AFC® certification is to meet you where you’re at, no matter the stage, and guide you to where you want to go. If you’re interested in learning more about financial life planning, feel free to reach out with questions or to have a conversation.