For me, inspiration is often sparked from the most unlikely of places and while it isn’t always easy I’ve trained myself to translate unexpected inspiration into action, for myself and for my clients.
Last Thursday was no different as I prepared myself to attend the “Peace of Mind Speaker Series” in Providence, RI. I had been gifted a ticket to the event by a friend, and while the topic of the speaker series (mental health awareness) may seem a bit outside what I normally focus on in my work, I found that the conversation that was generated by the speakers that day sparked a new way of thinking about financial health and the importance of designing a financial plan customized for each and every person to support them in their lives.
The event inspired me to begin thinking about the concept of financial peace of mind, and how I’m creating that in my own life and the lives of my clients. There’s a certain centeredness and clarity that comes from the work that I do, and there’s freedom and peace on the other side of knowing how to use money as a tool through a solidly aligned financial plan.
And of course, as I began to think about financial peace of mind, my clients and potential new clients showed up this week needing to understand what financial peace of mind looked like and that it was possible for them. I got to share what I’d been thinking about, and the 3 key steps that take place on the journey to creating financial peace:
- Get clear on your goals and what you want — In order to design a financial plan that works powerfully to support your life, it’s critical to first and foremost get clear on what you want. Each financial plan that I design for my clients is customized to support their wants and desires, and so if those wants and desires are unclear, the plan that is designed won’t truly represent what matters to them and as a result the level of commitment isn’t as high to the plan. Our lives move so quickly these days, that creating space to think about what we want often feels like a luxury when in reality it’s one of the most important things we can ever do to get clear on the results we’re looking to generate.
- Revisit your financial plan as an expression of your goals — In working with my clients, we’ve come to define “financially authentic” as the ability to use money in a way that is aligned with what matters to them in their lives. The concept of alignment, while perhaps new, is critical in creating financial peace. When a financial plan is an expression of your goals and what matters to you, there is little, if any, resistance to sticking with a plan. It’s as if the clarity of the aligned financial plan allows you to know what you’re up to and generates purposeful action for you to take in your life. Money then truly become a tool to support your goals and what you want to create.
- Test the new plan in the real world — How we use money in our lives is rarely, if ever, static and unchanging. What we’re up to and how we want money to support us is always evolving, and therefore our financial plans must evolve and adapt with us. Once the clarity has been achieved on our goals and we’ve revisited our financial plan as an expression of those goals, it’s time to use the plan and see how well reality matches with the plan that we designed. As I’m known for saying, “life happens” and at every turn our priorities can adjust and our plans then ideally will adapt with us. It’s important during this time of “testing” the financial plan in our lives that we pay attention to the details of the plan we’ve designed, however at the same time allowing for the possibility that something different may show up. I say this because many times I have clients who are committed to the plan as designed and aren’t present to the fact that new opportunities and goals may arise in the future that alter even the best-designed plan! How we use our money does not always need to be a perfect expression of the plan we designed – sometimes new and exciting things pop up that we get to factor into our lives!
Designing a financial plan and using money as a tool to support our lives is an ongoing process, one that is constantly evolving. And through that evolution and our individual growth, aligning how we use our money to support our lives is what generates and creates financial peace.