WHERE TRUE FINANCIAL PLANNING STARTS
One of the best ways to make any constructive change or difference in the direction of our lives is to take a moment to observe what’s currently going on. Life whizzes by so quickly that if we don’t check in with ourselves, we will find it hard to observe and articulate what has changed.
Financial planning, if done right, should start in the same place. Rather than beginning a financial planning conversation by talking about what’s changed in the market, or what’s changed with financial products, it’s more helpful to talk about what’s changed within our own life.
So often, it’s easy to get sucked into the financial happenings of everyone else, and then benchmark ourselves according to things that we cannot change or influence. This is when we run the danger of developing a toxic and harmful view of our financial situation.
If we think that everyone else is doing well because we see the lifestyle choices they’re making, we can feel like we’re falling behind or the only people struggling.
We read on social media how other people are buying new cars, moving homes, or emigrating – we see the changes happening in their lives and can subtly start to think that perhaps we should be doing the same. But – it’s not about what changes in their lives. It’s not about what happens with the stock exchange or political unrest on another continent.
It’s about what’s changing in our own lives.
Financial decisions are linked to our daily lifestyle choices; we cannot separate them. Anything we choose to do today will impact our finances tomorrow. So, if we’re going to talk about financial planning in a way that is inseparable from our life, family and business, we need to focus on what’s changing in our own lives, day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month.
You may know that journaling is a powerful way to help us heal and sustain our mental health. Coaches, counsellors and psychologists all encourage their clients to keep journals to track their emotions and thoughts in a way that can help them observe behaviours and articulate the changes they’d like to make. This process often includes identifying behaviours that are sparked or triggered by specific thoughts or feelings.
When it comes to our finances, it’s not too different. In fact – in accounting, the record of business finance is called a journal, and each item is referred to as a journal entry. In personal finance, the journal is a little like your personal budget. It helps us understand where our money is going, and why.
Financial planning considers your budget, all of your assets and responsibilities and the potential risk of losing or limiting your income. It’s all about you and helping you navigate the journey of making better financial decisions.
So – your financial planning should always begin with a conversation about what’s changed in your life, not what’s changed in the middle of Asia. It should focus on your concerns, not those of your neighbours down the way. This is how we can work together to help you achieve and engage with a financial plan that truly benefits you and your family and changes with you.