Money is just a TOOL 🛠
I’ll bet you often share small bits of conventional “therapist wisdom” with clients, friends and family members. Tidbits that might not seem particularly profound because they’re so familiar to you.
Does anyone ever react with... 🤯 Mind. Blown.
As a therapist, you have SO MANY powerful tools to transform lives. And you use those tools day and in day out. And so... you might start to forget how powerful and transformational they are.
I suspect subconsciously we believe that what’s obvious, common knowledge to us is common knowledge to everyone. The thing is... not so much.
I had a similar experience listening to one of my favorite personal finance podcasts the other day.
The host of the excellent Afford Anything podcast, Paula Pant, opened an episode describing a major Aha Moment she had while interviewing her guest. The aha moment was about a concept she had never thought about (or even heard about!) before. The groundbreaking idea that...
Money is just a tool.
When Paula said that this idea was new to her... my jaw dropped. (I think literally.) That money is merely a tool is such a foundational philosophy for me and the peers I regularly interact with. I had forgotten that this "obvious" perspective is one that isn't shared by everyone.
That’s not to make her bad or wrong. Not at all. She is easily one of the smartest, most well informed and articulate personal finance experts out there.
Her revealing this aha moment reawakened me to how uncommon this knowledge is. And what a powerful tool this reframe can be.
Money is JUST a tool. Accumulating money is not the goal. A better life is the goal.
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We don’t have financial goals - we have life goals with financial implications.
I've borrowed this brilliant phrase from the amazing Saundra Davis. And it really is true.
It’s not about earning six figures or saving $1 million or whatever other financial number might be floating around our heads.
Rather, it’s about what type of life - what experience of living - would that amount of money enable you to live.
Which is why I always encourage everyone to start FINANCIAL planning with LIFE planning. By life planning I mean getting clear about what your life goals are. I encourage you to really have a deep think about what is important to you. What do you really feel called to accomplish in this life? How do you want to spend your days?
Thinking about life goals like these can be challenging. It’s easy to get so caught up in our day-to-day busy-ness, that we lose track of what’s most important to us. It’s also often difficult to narrow life goals down to what is truly MOST important.
In the podcast episode I mentioned earlier, Paula’s guest is a hospice doctor named Jordan Grumet. (You can listen to the episode here.) He relates how when he realized he had saved enough money that he no longer had to work, he... got depressed. Why? Because his goal of achieving financial independence had unwittingly become his purpose. And without purpose, he found himself lost.
The point of life planning is to make sure you don’t find yourself lost after achieving a big life goal, financial or otherwise.
On the podcast, Jordan outlines a reflection prompt that he used to help find and focus his life:
If you knew you only had a year to live - what would you focus on?
It’s a great question and great practice to think through. I use a similar set of questions in the Life Planning process I take clients through.
Watch the video below 👇 to learn about the powerful questions I use to help clients define their great life.
The video will also give you instructions (and access to a worksheet) on how to conduct this portion of the Life Planning journey for yourself!
Money is never about money. It’s about you leading a great life. It’s all too easy to lose sight of that. Which is why it’s so important to take time to reflect on what we really want to accomplish in life.
I hope you have an inspiring conclusion to your week and look forward to connecting with you again soon.
Vision Meeting Exercises - Watch Video 📺
Turning Point is a registered investment advisor in the state of California. Please visit turningpointhq.com for important information and additional disclosures. This article is provided for general information and illustration purposes only. Nothing contained in the material constitutes financial, legal or tax advice; a recommendation for purchase or sale of any security; or investment advisory services. I encourage you to consult a financial planner, accountant, and/or legal counsel for advice specific to your situation. Read the full Disclaimer here.