What’s missing from financial planning?

Is financial planning just about numbers?

Anyone who has ever come into contact with a Serenity financial life planner will be more than aware of our passion for not just financial planning, but financial life planning.

Why is Financial Life Planning important?

That small four letter word ‘life’ may not seem that significant but it epitomises the whole point of all of us being here. The whole purpose of being on the planet is about life, and without that key element, perhaps there is no point, no purpose, and no logic.

In this article in Forbes, George Kinder, the founding father of Financial Life Planning explains the huge difference between financial planning and financial life planning.

What is the difference between Financial Planning and Financial Life Planning?

In short, one deals with people’s money, the other focuses on their lives and happiness first, then sets to work around the money part. In a way, it is comparing living to living life.

Surely investments and pensions matter most?

To quote one of our very great friends Andy Hart of Maven Adviser, ‘no adviser ever got a letter from a pension policy asking for help’.

Surely Financial Planning is no place for emotions

Emotion drives decisions, and decisions drive life, this is when we finally figure out that people’s emotions drive everything. To understand emotions, and ultimately our clients’ drivers through their lives, we need to listen to them, not project our opinions on how clever we think we are.

How does a Financial Life Planning relationship look?

It’s all about having a deep and meaningful relationship with our clients through their lives, not a synthetic relationship with their money for as long as it lasts. Without that deep relationship, we are just continually guessing at what may be best for our clients, guesses which may have a long term detrimental effect on their happiness.

Together we can bring some Serenity to your life

 

How to cope with the stress of money

How bad can the stress of money get?

Aside from low esteem, lack of self worth, depression, PTSD and suffering from workplace bullying, another key factor which led my friend Del to die by suicide in 2013 was the stress of the financial future.  Worried that his illness could cost him his job, he could see no way forwards, no way to protect and provide for his family, and no outlook which seemed possible.  Tragically, I only knew of this after he died.

Who is there to help?

Had Del sought professional financial help instead of suffering quietly, allowing the stories of worry to spin out of control, without doubt we could have found a way to change his perspective, and work together to build a way forward.  Instead, he came up with his own financial plan, to protect his family’s financial future by choosing to die by suicide, relieving his own suffering and in his eyes, helping them.

Picking up the pieces, and working with Del’s wife Nel, we have been able to help, to give her purpose, and to bring a little sparkle back into her eyes at times, and that is the most worthwhile aspect of being a financial life planner.

Where-ever you are,  here are 6 stressful money situations highlighted by Business Insider which may seem difficult to avoid, yet are never the end of the road – there is always a way forwards …

How to deal with a financial emergency 

If you do not have capital saved, make sure you have an emergency credit card to fall back on.  This is a temporary solution, but will give you enough time to seek proper advice, and make a plan to move forwards.

Worrying about buying a home

Here is a stress-pit of worry.  How much should you borrow? Should you borrow as much as possible? Should you use all your savings? What protection should you have?

The questions are endless, yet can be answered if some proper planning and modelling is carried out.

 

How much should I save for retirement?

No two people are the same, there is no magic number which fits everyone.

Only when you know what you would value in retirement, can you start to figure out what you may need money-wise.

This is the importance of financial life planning – an approach which puts your life at the centre of the plan, not the monetary values.  You may be surprised, the qualities in life which you want may not required huge sums of money at all.

 

When should I retire?

Just like above, no two people are the same.

If you have a range of plans and ideas which need you to be fit and healthy, maybe you need to retire sooner.  If you love what you do, but can start to find a great balance between that and leisure, then there may be no reason to rush into it.

Either way, discussing a planning it is essential.

 

How much money should I give my children?

It’s hard to say no, and at the same time, many of us would rather see our children not have to struggle.

Making it too easy may not be a good thing, but saving it all up until you die – that too has it’s own perils.

Whatever you do, by adopting a balanced plan, and sensible approach, you could be able to help your children along, and at the same time, helping them value what they are given.

Above all, don’t deprive yourself of the fun you deserve later in life (but also, don’t aim to be the richest person in the cemetery).

 

How can I help my parents with their finances?

One of the trickiest conversations of all is talking about your parent’s money.

Naturally cagey, they may not want to volunteer the information (and is is hard to not look as if you are interested in an inheritance, particularly if they are unwell). Bring siblings into the conversation, and start the discussions well ahead of time to figure out what sources may be available for long term care funding, and of course, what wishes they have.  In the same way that you want to enjoy your life, they should be focussing on their days being as comfortable as possible, not scrimping and saving and trying to get one over on the local authority by not paying for care (saving the fees, but ending up in a grotty care home).

What to do next?

By proper planning, and discussing these issues with a professional, there is a chance that many of the most stressful money situations can either be avoided, or at least eased.

Please, please do not let them spin out of control stories in your head.  Ask for help, get a reality check, and let someone guide you onwards.

Find someone who speaks your language, who keeps things simple, and are focussed on you.  Financial decisions are hard enough to make at the best of times, never mind when you have huge levels of stress and worry to cope with.

 

 

What’s the difference between Financial Planning and Financial Life Planning?

What is Financial Life Planning?

Anyone who has ever come into contact with a Serenity Financial Life Planner will be more than aware of our passion for not just financial planning, but financial life planning.

That small four letter word ‘life’ may not seem that significant but it epitomises the whole point of us being here. The whole purpose of being on the planet is about life, and without that key element, perhaps there is no point, no purpose, and no logic.

Where did Financial Life Planning come from?

In the attached article, George Kinder, the founding father of Financial Life Planning explains the huge difference between financial planning and financial life planning.

In short, one deals with people’s money, the other focusses on their lives and happiness first, then sets to work around the money part. In a way, I guess it is comparing living to living life.

Isn’t finance all about policies?

To quote one of our very great friends Andy Hart of Maven Adviser, ‘no adviser ever got a letter from a pension policy asking for help’.

What should my adviser really be doing?

Emotion drives decisions, and decisions drive life, this is when we finally figure out that people’s emotions drive everything. To understand emotions, and ultimately our clients’ drivers through their lives, we need to listen to them, not project our opinions on how clever we think we are.

Why is financial life planning different?

Ultimately, it’s all about having a deep and meaningful relationship with our clients through their lives, not a synthetic relationship with their money for as long as it lasts. Without that deep relationship, we are just continually guessing at what may be best for our clients, guesses which may have a long term detrimental effect on their happiness.

Together we can bring some Serenity to your life

 

How easy is it to save money?

Is saving money just like losing weight?

Well there is a question – and in short, yes – the principle is the same, and here is why…

How do most people go about losing weight?

Generally, people start by getting good idea of how heavy they are, figuring out where they want to get to, and start to monitor their progress. The progress is made by changes to behaviour, an approach of what is consumed, and how much energy is spent.

Is saving and weight loss just about will-power?

A disciplined approach to weight-loss is something many of us recognise, and in a way, is no different to how perhaps you should approach a disciplined structure to money management.

Discipline and structure is how to save

By figuring out how much money is needed to be saved, how the budget needs to be trimmed, or a particular financial focus is needed, you have the equivalent of a weight-loss goal.

Awareness of consumption is important

Follow this up with a mindful and intentional structure and monitoring of expenditure, the spending behaviour may well change (just like by eating apples instead of cakes for example). Less money is consumed (like less food), and perhaps less is spent (or at least spent in a more intentional manner).

Do I need a support group or mentor?

A sustained, monitored and coached approach is of huge benefit for many people with regards their finances in order to avoid the monetary equivalent of yo-yo dieting, yet it doesn’t seem to be widespread.  People happily spend over £4 a day on take away coffee, and another £6 on lunch, yet many would baulk at the idea of paying to be coached around their money.

Do people pay for financial coaching?

A good number of our Serenity clients around the UK, although they have accumulated wealth, may have done so by accident (through an inheritance perhaps, or even having it retained within their business), yet still need significant ongoing support and coaching to retain their understanding and reality of money. This is the value our clients find in our relationship with them – and that is what it is, a relationship with our clients, not their money.

Do I need investments to have financial coaching?

In fact, more and more people are now paying for financial planning, coaching and support and not even having investments in place.  Instead, they see the real value in changing their habits and being supported on a regular basis to keep them moving towards their goals.

That is what matters most – people arriving at their goals, and sustaining them.

Together we can bring some Serenity to your life

 

 

How the Tax System Works – in Beer

A bit of tax fun (not words which usually go that well together)

I came across this tax analogy from Toby Morris.

It takes the example of a group of people going out for a beer, and distributing the bill according to their means in life – so far so good, some obviously pay more than others, and some pay nothing at all as they are unable to. Continue reading “How the Tax System Works – in Beer”