Values Guided Financial Planning

Financial Life Planning is a holistic process that will first help you to clarify your values and then guide you in defining and designing your unique version of the “rich life.”

When thinking about values, we often think in terms of principles or standards we consider important such as honesty, loyalty, or altruism.  We also tend to think of values in terms of what we hold most dear such as family and good health.

Our values are also those intangibles that keep us motivated.  Motivators vary from person to person, but examples include wealth, recognition, achievement, intelligence, creativity, challenge, adventure, harmony, and so on. (more…)

Life Planning vs. Retirement Planning

In the past, the transition to retirement has been viewed solely as an economic event. As a result, the focus of retirement planning has always been on building a nest egg.

In The Late-Start Investor, author John Wasik recommends discarding this obsolete view in favor of a “flexible life plan that provides for financial, vocational, physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.”  He explains, “Unless you look at your future holistically, merely saving up a pile of money will be a meaningless act.” (more…)

Getting Unboxed

In The Three Boxes of Life: And How to Get Out of Them, author Richard Bolles described the three periods of life as (1) youth, (2) adulthood, and (3) old age.  He observed that life in each stage seems to be conducted without much consciousness or preparation for life in the next stage.

High school and college graduates almost universally express that they learned very little in school to help them find jobs or to be successful in their careers.  Likewise, workers approaching the end of their careers realize they are ill prepared for life in retirement.  Thus, as Bolles explained, “these three periods—in their isolation from one another—end up looking (or feeling) like three boxes.” (more…)

Thriving on Purpose

Because life expectancy has increased dramatically since the turn of the 20th century, your most important challenge and opportunity is to make the most of your “bonus” years. Therefore, as you proactively prepare for life as an older adult, resolve to not only live longer, but to live better as well.

In their bestselling book Successful Aging, John Rowe, M.D. and Robert Kahn, Ph.D. documented the results of ten years of ground breaking research on aging. As a result of their exhaustive investigation, the authors concluded that there are three main components of successful aging: (more…)

Resilience and Transition

Resiliency is a personal characteristic that can help you navigate life in the uncertain sea of change.  It is a trait and a skill that will help you to overcome challenges and grab hold of the opportunities that you encounter along your life’s journey.

Resiliency also describes your ability to “bounce back” from loss, disappointment, or other difficult circumstances.  Those who are resilient don’t give up and have a positive outlook even when experiencing trials and tribulations. (more…)

What’s Your Number

How much money do you need to secure the rest of your life? Do you know how to think about it? What do you want to do with the rest of your life and how much will it cost?

Lee Eisenberg challenges his readers with these questions and more in his book, The Number: A Completely Different Way to Think about the Rest of Your Life. As Eisenberg himself proclaims, “This book is about money, but ultimately it’s about the life you want, the life you don’t, and the costs of each.” (more…)

The Root of Money Scripts

For many of us, managing our finances and building economic security is a nagging concern.  We know we should be making greater strides in taking control of our money matters, but nothing changes.  We become confused and discouraged about our inability to make positive change in our financial lives.

However, the authors of Wired for Wealth (Brad Klontz, Rick Kahler, and Ted Klontz) say that all of our financial actions—or inactions—make perfect sense when we understand what “money scripts” drive those behaviors.  They write:

“Money scripts are the thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes that we hold about money.  Many of our associations are hidden deeply in the unconscious mind.” (more…)

Testing Your Strengths

 “We have repeatedly found that those who pursue all three domainspleasure, engagement, and meaninghave by far the most life satisfaction, with engagement and meaning far and away the biggest contributors to fulfillment.

Martin Seligman

The American Psychological Association (APA) expects each incoming president to pick a theme for his or her yearlong term. When University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman was elected to that office in 1998, he knew exactly where he wanted to draw the attention of APA members. (more…)

Money & Relationship Dynamics

Nowhere is the influence of emotion on financial behavior more clearly illustrated than in interpersonal relationships.  Consider these examples:

  • Nick has a need to be viewed as “successful” in the eyes of his friends and colleagues. To him, the proof of one’s success is material possessions. Therefore, Nick has purchased a custom built home, luxury cars, expensive clothes, and a prestigious golf club membership—all of which he really cannot afford. Unfortunately for Nick, the real price tag for meeting his emotional need is pretense and mounting debt.
  • Emily is a saver and Brad is a spender. Emily wants to save for a rainy day and Brad wants to live for the day. There was a time when their differences in perspective were a source for good-natured teasing, but recently the “humor” around money matters has disappeared. Tension in their relationship is mounting, and they each feel the other is the obstacle to achieving financial satisfaction.
  • Single and fifty years old, Linda finds financial matters to be boring and confusing. Her father, retired and with time on his hands, is all too eager to relieve Linda of any task she finds onerous. He oversees all of her accounts and makes all her investment decisions for her.

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Doing Work Worth Doing

“We in the twenty-first century, in spite of living in a fast-moving and chaotic world, have an extraordinary advantage over previous generations: through improved nutrition, fitness, lifestyle changes, and medical research, we can anticipate an extra twenty to thirty years of healthy living. If these extra years are handled wisely, our middle age will double dramatically into a second mid-life, while our ‘old’ age shrinks.”

Helen Harkness, Ph.D.

In her book, Don’t Stop the Career Clock, Helen Harkness wrote that we should view increasing longevity not as an extension of old age, but rather as an extension of our active middle years. She also wrote that these extra years should be viewed as a precious gift and advises “we must take an active hand in managing our windfall.” (more…)