A common question that we get from people after telling them that we own our own financial planning firm is: What do you ask clients at the first meeting?
When we first sit down with a new prospect, we try to determine how they visualize their own future. Importantly, we try to parse out in the discussion what their actual desires are, and not the desires that they believe they should have. A veteran in the financial services industry, George Kinder, believes the following questions help to focus the discussion on the true underlying desires. We agree.
Imagine you have all the money you will ever need now and in the future. What will you do with it? How will you live your life? What will change?
These questions cover the suppressed goals by eliminating the normal human tendency to believe that you may not have enough money to fulfill your actual desires. We often create artificial constraints in our minds. By eliminating the perceived lack of money from the discussion, it helps bring the desired future into focus.
Once we are able to clarify the true desires then we have a realistic discussion concerning possibilities. Often, we can make adjustments to a plan, and what seem to be unreasonable desires become a reality.
End-of-life care Australian nurse, Bronnie Ware wrote an interesting article on the five major regrets people have when they know they are facing imminent death. Bonnie spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai.
Here are two universal themes:
I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
The most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over, they discover they had not honored even half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. She discusses how most did not realize, until the end, that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits.
“Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to themselves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”
The complete list can be found here: Five Regrets
Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom.
What’s your greatest regret so far and how will you set out to change and achieve your dreams before you die?
Why wait until facing the inevitable end to live the life you wish? Work with a financial coach to uncover and clarify those desires for your life and the lives of your loved ones. Walk through a discovery meeting with an advisor to help clarify those true meaningful desires and goals. This will allow the financial coach to work with you in developing a plan to explore the possibilities.
For once you lay out the plan, the entire focus of the partnership is to secure these long-term life-fulfilling goals, which allows for less concern about current economic events. The real value of a financial advisor or financial coach should be to help you concentrate on the real issues that you have and modify your behavior to fulfill your life dreams.
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