Determining Your True Values Will Lead to a Successful Financial Strategy

Determining Your True Values Will Lead to a Successful Financial Strategy

“We want to retire by the time we reach 60!”

“It’s vitally important to send our kids to the college of their choice!”

“I want to quit my job and do something else!”

“We want to buy an apartment in the city!”

We all have dreams. We have those ideas that swim in our minds and create endorphins to rush through our bodies. The hurdle we frequently struggle to jump over is our ability to take those ideas and put them into action.

Lisa and Mark, both in their early 40’s, had been working hard to build their net worth. They lived carefully and thoughtfully, funding their retirement plans and living comfortably within their means. They knew how to save their money for a secure future. When we sat down to talk about their planning goals, the following conversation took place.

Lisa began, “You know, I like my career and the financial rewards it provides, but I’d really like to do something else or work part-time.”

Mark answered, “Yeah, but without your salary, I don’t know if we’ll be on track to pay for college and be able to stop working before our mid-60’s. And we also talked about summer camp for Hilary. It all costs money.”

Lisa looked dejected but offered, “I know. I just feel so torn…”

These conversations are normal. We all have that idea that magnetically draws us like a compass pointing north.

The question is, what is your truth? What is that one idea that, if not attained, will create disappointment or regret?

Determining our true values is a process of thoughts, discovery, conversation and finally an agreed-upon strategy. Lisa and Mark’s assignment was to go home, talk about their prior discussion, and consider what underlying values became clearer and more defined.

Several weeks later, Lisa and Mark returned to reveal the outcome of their conversation.

“Mark and I invested a lot of time talking about this, and I believe we’ve developed our most important values. We decided that while Hilary’s education is very important, we have agreed that unless she earns scholarships, her choices will be limited to state schools. We also expect her to contribute to her school’s tuition. While I would love to change my work situation, we’ve agreed that I will continue another five years and then transition to part-time so we can save more money for our future. We really want the option to make significant life changes in our early 60’s. Can you help us determine whether that’s possible? We value the idea of changing our lives as soon it is practical and rational.”

In summary, Lisa and Mark’s highest priority and greatest value is retiring in their early 60’s. This decision affects their big-picture core values as well as their everyday smaller values, such as the following:

Lisa and Mark made some budgeting choices that helped put them on the path to achieving their most important goal. These choices included decreasing childcare costs by choosing a less expensive option, shaving 25% off their annual vacation budget, cutting 15% off their other discretionary spending, keeping their cars for 8 to 10 years and increasing their deductibles and co-insurance on their insurance plans to save on premiums. They explored other cost-cutting ideas like cutting out cable TV and replacing paper goods like power towels and napkins with cloth.

Incremental shifts in spending, along with careful monitoring, supported Lisa and Mark on their mission to live their highest values. It’s the smartest place to start when planning your life, and the answer is your life’s most satisfying goals.

Michael Kay
Advisor
Twitter Email

I founded Financial Life Focus because I wanted to work with people who put your success at the forefront of everything they do; people who understand that finding balance is ... Click for full bio

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week (March 20 - 24)

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week (March 20 - 24)

Here’s a look at the Top 11 Most Viewed Articles of the Week on IRIS.xyz, March 20 - 24, 2017 


Click the headline to read the full article.  Enjoy!



1. Facing a Massive Menu of ETFs? 4 Steps for Smart Choices


In the world of ETFs, advisors face a similar challenge. Simply put, the menu of ETFs is massive. And while advisors used to debate only about the merits of active versus passive investing ... — Jillian DelSignore

2. 5 Reasons Not to Run From REITs During Rising Interest Rates


Here are five reasons why we believe simply shifting your strategy, but not running from REITs, may provide desired yield—even in the face of yet another rate hike ... — Salvatore Bruno

3. The Impact of Working with a Narcissist


There are different types of narcissists but handling them is always the same: be humble, don’t engage. — Tanya Beaudry

4. Advisors: How to Get Referred


Use these simple tips to establish and grow valuable relationships with Centers of Influence to have them recommend you to their best clients. — Paul Kingsman

5. Five Reasons Why You're Not Getting Referrals


​Are you getting enough qualified referrals from people within your network? Or are you relationship rich but referral poor? — James Pollard

6. Understanding ETF Liquidity and Trading


ETFs offer attractive features—access to a broad range of asset classes, sectors and styles in a liquid, transparent and cost-effective vehicle. But before using that vehicle, it’s helpful to understand how it works ... — ProShares

7. McMobile: Will McDonald’s Mobile Strategy Kill the Drive-thru?


While I personally won’t forsake my Starbucks ritual for McDonalds’ curbside delivery, I have to concede the prospect of having my breakfast provided to me as I pull up to a restaurant does sound appealing. — Joseph Michelli

8. Top Ten Strategies for Increasing Marketing ROI


So many leads, so little time. Your marketing strategy is generating so many qualified prospects and you can’t keep pace. It is an enviable position. — Elizabeth Harr​​​​​​​

9. Is the Trump Bump an Example of Irrational Exuberance?


The stock market continues to soar. The natural question is: How long can this go on? — Mark Germain​​​​​​​

10. Can Trump Follow Reagan's Playbook?


New presidents typically arrive in office with an economic agenda. In the case of Trump, the nature of his proposals has invited comparison with a variety of changes made under the first term of President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. — Matthew F. Beaudry

11. Hope Is Fading for Robust Economic Growth


The hope for economic growth much beyond 2.0% looks to be deferred, as legislation appears to be bogging down and the Fed is reducing monetary support, clearly taking the path to interest rate normalization. — SNW Asset Management​​​​​​​

Douglas Heikkinen
Perspective
Twitter Email

IRIS Founder and Producer of Perspective—a personal look at the industry, and notables who share what they’ve learned, regretted, won, lost and what continues to ... Click for full bio