Financial Planning: It’s About More Than Money

Life planning is different than traditional financial planning because the focus is more about who you are and who you want to be than it is about money.

Unlike people engaged in the traditional planning process, people engaged in the life planning process don’t look ahead to figure out how to maintain their current lifestyles in retirement. Instead, they look at how to change their current lifestyle to achieve the lifestyle of their dreams.

The Ideal Lifestyle

Many people credit the baby boomers for this trend – former flower children who grew up and were absorbed by corporate America, but who never lost their ideals. Just as the boomers redefined their “golden years” as a time to be more active than their predecessors were, some want to go a step further and redefine themselves.

For these people, the concept of money is intertwined with the concepts of spirituality, creativity, family, service and other emotional aspects of personal satisfaction. Happiness is measured in more than just dollars and cents. It’s not, “he who dies with the most toys wins,” it’s “he who gets the most out of life wins.”

Money and Sacrifice

There’s just no escaping the money (or the lack thereof)The mailman who wants to become Bill Gates is probably out of luck. However, the attorney who wants to trade in her suit to pick up a hammer and open a repair shop might be able to do it in cash. The others have to make choices, so they work with a financial advisor in order to determine how to develop the financial plan that will allow them to realize their personal goals.

Rather than trying to earn more money or build a bigger nest egg, a significant number of people need to make do with less in order to achieve their goals. Giving up the big house, trading in the BMW and skipping the month-long trips to Europe can help decrease expenses and enable people to trade in their day jobs for lower paying, but personally-fulfilling, professions and past-times.

It’s Your Life

If your goal is simply to retire, still be able to pay the bills and maybe a take a few trips each year, that’s one thing. If your goal is to trade in your spot in cube city for a spot behind the counter at your own bakery, that’s another thing entirely. Instead of asking yourself, “How much do I need to save,” ask yourself, “How am I willing to change my lifestyle in order to achieve my goal.

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