“Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.” –Benjamin Franklin
What is it that you want in life? I have yet to come across the person who expressed their goals as wanting to do a Scrooge McDuck type dive into their piles of money.
To be honest, I probably wouldn’t work with them if they did. Money is just a means to an end.
For most of the people it’s not the money they want but the control that it can give them to determine their own fate.
What is it that you want out of life?
I have clients who want to retire and play guitar on a beach in their 50s, some want to sell their business and work for a charity they believe in. Others want to work in their business until they die or just can no longer physically show up.
Everybody has a different goal in life, and these are just a sample of the infinite number of goals people have.
Some people focus on the shorter term. Some want to have a bigger house, or to pay for their kid’s education so are not saddled with loans after graduation. Some people just want to be able to travel to the destination of their choosing whenever they feel like it.
People, for the most part, crave what money can get them, not the money itself.
People often fail to adequately financially plan because they believe planning means telling themselves no. If they plan, they will see all the things they can’t spend their money on.
Good planning is all about saying, yes. Yes, to the things that are truly important.
If you like lattes every day, spend on lattes. If you love to travel, spend freely on travel. If you always wanted that BMW, buy the BMW. Just know that you will have to prioritize. You need to think about and identify what truly inspires you, motivates you, or just makes you happy.
Good financial planning may allow you to spend liberally in the areas that are IMPORTANT. Unless you are Elon Musk, you can’t spend on everything. You need to think about what it is that makes you happy and what is important to you. Don’t let the inertia of spending take control of you.
Whether someone works with a professional, or they do it themselves, there is often a great sense of freedom that comes over people when they identify what truly inspires them and live in accordance with those values.
You can even align your investments with those values. I currently work with several clients who have deeply held religious beliefs and want to make sure their investments are in alignment with those values. Others focus on a desire to be environmentally conscious.
These types of investments generally come with higher fees, and that is ok. They understand that, and the planning just means they will have to save a little more to overcome the cost. The great thing is that they now know their capital is in better alignment with their values. They have control!
Allow me to share a personal example of aligning spending with priorities. My wife and I own one car, a 2013 Honda Accord with over 100k miles on it, we don’t buy expensive clothes, and we don’t wear expensive jewelry.
We do that because we want control of our future and the future for our children. We do that because we don’t care about cars, clothes, or jewelry. We do love food, value experiences, our health, and adore our children. We spend unreservedly on those areas of our life. We don’t care about the money we save by having one old car. We care that we get to spend on what is important to us today and in the future. Planning can do that. It’s not the money you want, it’s the control you can have in your life by having control of your money.
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