Finding Financial Purpose
June 28, 2023|
Throughout my career, one of the most common questions I have received is, “Are we on track?” In fact, you may be wondering the same thing. It’s certainly a legitimate question, and one that deserves an answer. However, the answer may be more elusive than you realize. My question to you is, “on track for what, exactly?”
It’s been my experience that on the surface, many are looking for answers to more arbitrary goals such as retiring at 65, paying for kids’ college, or making sure their investments are growing at a certain pace. These targets are honorable and good, and you should plan for them. After all, nobody sets out to spend the last 20 years of their life constantly worried about money. But, these goals should simply be a byproduct of a more broad, unified, clear vision. When I dig deeper into what they really want to know, I often find that many are really searching for validation that the next chapter of their life will be filled with purpose. Because the reality is, none of us want to spend our remaining years with plenty of money but no sense of purpose or feeling of joy.
This is something I have thought about a lot and, without getting too philosophical, I truly believe we have all been given an inner purpose intended to guide the way we live our lives. I humbly recognize that many struggle within to find purpose and meaning. I imagine we’ve all wrestled with it at various points. Yet, struggling to find it does not mean it’s not there. It’s usually under the surface waiting to be found.
I believe one of the reasons people struggle to find their purpose is because we are too busy to even explore the concept. Our daily lives are jam-packed with so many activities, commitments, and distractions that we easily allow months and years to pass by without taking any time to genuinely reflect, explore, and be intentional with how we live our lives. Busyness is kryptonite to intentionality.
As advisors, we have the honor of developing very close relationships with our clients. This allows us to have intimate conversations about the concept of being intentional – intentional with time, intentional with relationships, and intentional with money. True financial planning must be completely interwoven with your own statement of purpose, which serves as the “true north” guiding each financial decision.
I encourage you to reflect on 6 key questions to help you define your own statement of financial purpose. Spend time thinking through each one carefully and writing down your thoughts.
What do I value most? We all have different things we value. Commonly, many individuals value things such as relationships, faith, simplicity, integrity, health, freedom, serving others, etc. As an example, we frequently hear “time with family” at the top of the list and, therefore, considerations such as whether to move close to your adult children and grandchildren become important financial considerations.
How do I want to be remembered? Your personal character? Experiences share with loved ones? Each of us has someone we’ve lost who has made a positive impact on our lives. What can we learn from how they lived their own lives? Why do we remember them so fondly? Why did they have such a positive impact? If we took time to list out how we want to be remembered, it’s possible we may prioritize our time and money differently. This question dovetails nicely with question number 3.
How do I want to spend my time? Time is a finite resource. It cannot be created, but it can absolutely be wasted. I imagine we can all recount times in our life when we’ve simply wasted the time we were given. Intentionality is incredibly important here, so it helps to make a priority list of what you would like to achieve and how you want to spend your time. Then, align your financial resources accordingly.
How do I want to give back? We have all benefited in some way from the generosity of others. Whether a parent, teacher, coach, friend, or organization, I encourage you to reflect on how important someone else’s generosity has been to your own success. In the same way, I believe generosity and a spirit of giving are the lifeblood of living out and fulfilling your purpose. In fact, it’s backed up by independent research. In what ways do you want to bless others? Who do you want to be generous to? What greater good can be accomplished through your generosity?
How do I want to positively impact the lives of those I love? From a financial planning perspective, it is critical to make consistently disciplined decisions to plan for your own future. However, it is a good exercise to periodically examine your motives. Are your decisions selfishly motivated? Or are you being intentional about how you can positively impact the lives of those you love? Who are those individuals? What steps can you take today to impact their lives most positively?
What risks am I most concerned about? Fear can be a debilitating and unforgiving animal and, if left unchecked, will cause people behave irrationally. The truth is that risks are present in every aspect of life. You will never eliminate all risks and, if you focus on them too intently, they can be crippling. It’s wise to take time to think through your biggest concerns. Are they risks that can be avoided? At what cost? Do you have control over them? Or are you wasting time worrying about things that you don’t have any control over? Listing and quantifying your various fears can help provide a more objective lens to evaluate their impact. Many times, the risks we fear the most never come to pass and we’ve wasted time and energy worrying about them.
It is my belief that too many people go through life without aligning their finances to the intentionality and purpose needed. While answering the above questions will take time and reflection, it will be an incredibly valuable exercise. Once you have done so, a good advisor will be able to help you integrate these core principles into a financial plan.
At Counterweight Private Wealth, this is our mission.
Counterweight Private Wealth is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with its principal offices in Raleigh, NC and Wilmington, NC. Registration of an investment adviser does not imply any specific level of skill or training and does not constitute an endorsement of the firm by the Commission. Counterweight Private Wealth only transacts business in states in which it is properly registered or is excluded or exempted from registration. A copy of Counterweight Private Wealth’s current written disclosure brochure filed with the SEC which discusses among other things, its business practices, services, and fees, is available through the SEC’s website at: www.adviserinfo.sec.gov.
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