Your Money - Stop counting and start dreaming
The traditional approach to financial planning is to make as much money as possible.
Rather obvious, you might think. What else would it be about? But a growing school of thought looks at it in a totally different way. It asks individuals to think carefully about what they would really, really like to do in life, and then helps them organise their finances to make it possible for them to follow their dreams.
This approach is significant because a lack of money - or the perception of it - is often the only thing that holds people back from spending their days doing what they love.
So if the finances can be sorted out, it suddenly becomes possible. An increasing number of personal financial advisers around the world are encouraging clients to think about their finances in this light.
This movement goes under different names - it is sometimes dubbed ‘financial life planning’ while others know it as ‘holistic life planning’ - but they amount to the same thing. Here are some steps to take so that you too can make money do what you want, rather than the other way round:
DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT TO DO
This is easy for many people, but for others it requires some thought. You might have enjoyed art at school, but that doesn't mean you want to spend the rest of your life painting. It can be helpful to ask yourself how you would spend your life if you had unlimited money. Or if you knew you were about to pass away, what would you most regret never doing? Such questions can put you in touch with your deepest desires, which you had perhaps forgotten you even had after years on the career treadmill.
WORK OUT HOW MUCH MONEY YOU WILL NEED
You might be pleasantly surprised by this exercise. If your dream involves working from home, you will be free of commuting costs and it might become practical to live in a less expensive neighbourhood. If your plan is to travel the world you might not need to pay for a permanent home. And you might never have to buy another suit for work in your life. On the other hand, a new occupation - photography, sailing or whatever - might make new demands on your finances.
PLAN YOUR FINANCIAL SURVIVAL
This is the nub, of course. If you fail at this part, the whole plan unravels. This is where a financial adviser who is in tune with what you are trying to do can play a crucial role. He can help you sort through the options, from selling your house to cashing in some shares or shifting a moribund investment into something more productive. And who knows, your new life might bring unexpected financial opportunities your way. People tend to be good at things they love to do, and there may well be a lucrative market for your services or for those of your dream business.
Maybe it’s time you took the plunge. Some boring old financial planning might just make your dreams come true.