It’s easy to think about a financial plan and consider the elements that typically go into it. For instance, we could picture a plan that consists of a retirement savings product, life and health insurance, investment portfolios, and maybe a few things like trusts, wills and estate plans. Or, we could think about what a financial plan can help us avoid, and help us achieve.
When we think of our financial plan in terms of the products that comprise the overall portfolio, we risk becoming detached from our financial plan. For most of us, products are not interesting, and some of us find them intangible and boring. But – when we think of how these products can help us, or why we might choose them in the first place, we can increase our level of enthusiasm and engagement. This is when our financial plan starts to become a life-financial plan.
When life gets complicated, busy and full of stuff, we can quickly find ourselves with no direction or exit strategy – even if we have managed to save up lots of money and build what we perceive to be a successful life.
Life’s complexities make things messy, and through the ensuing stress and lack of quality time, we can miss obvious areas where we aren’t transferring business or work success into personal wealth and health. Spending quality time with people we love, engaging in downtime, and practising self-care are all important to our overall wellbeing and should be part of a better financial planning process.
There are also risks to consider and provide protection for, from income protection to health care provision. It’s not so much about the products we choose, but about the people and lifestyle that we choose to protect and provide for.
A better financial plan can help us consider risks and avoid them, and it can also help us achieve more in life as we integrate it with our daily choices. We can work towards things like 4-day work weeks, annual or quarterly holidays, or paying down debt to become less reliant on credit.
Inside of a financial plan that considers the people, the lives and the relationships – we can have complete peace of mind and confidence. Financial planning is not just about ticking boxes or trying to keep up with the Joneses; it’s about changing lives. We can only do this with better conversations when we sit down to work on financial plans, conversations that help us achieve and live the life we want with the money we have.