The other day as I was scrolling through my Instagram stories, a friend of mine posted a book they were about to start reading called Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (2016) by Angela Duckworth. The cover blurb provided by Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness (2007), read, “Psychologists have spent decades searching for the secret of success, but Duckworth is the one who found it.”
“Oh, has she?” I thought. I was immediately intrigued. The secret to success? That’s a bold claim. But it got me thinking.
We are All Looking for the Secret to Success
We are constantly looking, searching, and learning about ways to become more productive, successful human beings. From articles to videos to webinars to books, we all want to know the secret—the secret to success.
What can we do to get better?
What is the secret to success?
Over the next few days, no matter where my brain took me, I kept coming back to this: I guide people through a process that helps them uncover the answers to many of these questions. In deciding what people want to do with their money, they inevitably have to decide what they want to do with their lives.
What if the process of financial planning is the ultimate life hack?
For a small percentage of your wealth, you hire someone who knows exactly what you need to know to be successful without having to learn it all yourself. The added bonus? Your wealth grows for making that initial investment. You essentially get your money back, and more. That’s one heck of a bargain if you ask me.
But that’s not it. Because what about all the rest of it? Because we all know that money isn’t the end all, be all. It’s what you do with your money—the life that money allows you to create—that makes the money worth anything.
Personal Financial Planning Paves the Way to Success in All Areas of Life
Even though I am a financial planner and technically what I offer is a financial plan, I have come to sincerely believe that the process of planning is far more valuable to my clients than the plan itself.
And that is because the process of making a financial plan can be absolutely transformative. In the process of making a financial plan, I see people change. I see people go from confused and afraid to confident and excited for life again. I see them start to dream and believe and move, and in doing so, I see joy.
Establishing clarity around your finances is arguably one of the most critical things you can do for yourself. It is important to understand your financial needs and then to create a financial plan to meet them.
But this understanding part is grossly underrated. Here’s why.
1) Planning helps people to gain clarity on what is important to them.
The world is a noisy place. Ads, media, friends, and even family can all have a tremendous impact on what we do and why we do it. Amidst all the chaos, it can be easy to lose sight of what is truly important to us.
But people are happiest and the most successful when they are spending their time and their money on the people, things, and causes that are most important to them. This could be their own business, their children, their favorite charities, or even collecting things. There is no right or wrong way.
But looking at your “pot of money” and asking yourself “how is this money best spent?” will help reveal the highest priorities in your life. And sometimes, you may find a shift is in order to help you feel more fulfilled.
2) Planning forces people to set goals.
Financial planning helps people set goals and create a plan to work towards them. Goals may be overrated insomuch as the word is used in financial planning, but they are actually worthwhile tools in giving people direction and purpose in their lives.
When individuals have clear goals in mind, it gives them something to focus on. When progress is made toward them, it gives them a sense of accomplishment and personal pride. And in the process of doing so, they’re sowing the seeds for the financial life that will enhance their lives in the future.
3) Planning allows people to dream again.
As we age, we tend to grow far more serious and more rational. We tend to see dreaming as something relegated to childhood, something puerile, and naïve. But who said we had to stop dreaming in order to be productive, successful adults? What if dreaming is what awakens us to our higher purpose?
Meeting with new clients can be so refreshing for this very reason. When we ask clients what they want their lives to look like, what they want to do with their time and their money, and what they’d like to achieve, something magical happens. Their brains slowly start churning and their faces light up. They’re suddenly filled with life and hope and an energy that carries them into making meaningful financial choices to make their dreams a reality.
Dreaming changes people. It changes the world. And financial planning gives people permission to engage in this meaningful dreaming again.
Financial Planning Never Ends
There is a quote I love by Felicia Day that reads, “Knowing yourself is life’s eternal homework.” We never stop evolving or becoming, so the process of financial planning will never end and that’s a good thing. If planning helps us to tap into our higher purposes, to feel more fulfilled, to “hack” life and dream our biggest dreams again, then we should all hope that it becomes a permanent fixture in our lives.
So even though I am a financial planner, I am going to tell you that the most valuable thing I can offer you isn’t a financial plan…it’s the planning process.
If you’d like to learn more about how we help our clients uncover what is most valuable to them and align their resources to fulfill those priorities, we encourage you to schedule a call with us. We’d love to discuss your possibilities.