Wishing you and everyone around you the Happiest of New Years!
With the dawning of this New Year, we begin the 2019 Natural Wealth® Process cycle with a discussion about Vision.
The Natural Wealth® Process is our proprietary financial life planning system. It is a perpetual process focusing on five core financial life planning elements: Vision, Wealth, Tax and Estate, Cash Flow and Risk Management. In our process, we maintain a focus on Vision through each calendar year given its importance and significance in the overall success of a financial life plan. The other key elements (Wealth, Tax and Estate, Cash Flow and Risk Management) are each highlighted and reviewed on a rotating quarterly basis. The idea is to place emphasis on each element for a dedicated period through the course of the year, focusing on the important aspects of the element during the highlighted period and moving through each of the core elements annually. The idea is to help clients to consider and review each of the core elements in their financial life plan at least annually, to ensure that they are addressing any issues in a timely and effective manner. While an orderly and systematic approach to planning is advisable, a significant life event (e.g. family member death or disability, job loss, retirement, marriage or marital breakdown) should trigger a complete financial life plan review whenever the event occurs. If you find yourself dealing with a significant life event, contact us at your earliest opportunity to allow us to help you move through the situation successfully.
As mentioned, Vision (sometimes referred to as goals, objectives and dreams) is in constant view with each household’s financial life plan. The household Vision underpins the whole financial life planning process. We like to think beyond basic financial life planning goals and objectives (children’s/ grand-children’s education funding, funding a large ticket purchase, retirement), to help clients imagine what things will be like as their own personal life vision is realized. What would it mean to have a child or grandchild finish post-secondary school with no student debt? What would you consider to be an ideal retirement lifestyle? Painting a picture of what the ideal outcome might look and feel like can help the mind wire itself to make the Vision a reality. A well thought-out and articulated Vision also helps us stay focused and avoid distractions and outside influences that might derail our plan. Vision is the purpose behind our financial life planning activities.
We believe that an effective Vision is born from determining what is really important in our lives; our values. Values are, in effect, our compass. Our values form the basis for how we make decisions and, choose paths and actions for ourselves and our families. Clarifying our values and taking time to discuss and articulate values as individuals (and within a household) can be a powerful experience. We highly recommend working through a values exercise as a household. A clear picture of what is important to us as individuals and as a family can liberate us from a large amount of distraction that comes our way every day, whether in the way of advertising, social media and any of the other myriad of ways we are distracted in the normal course of our lives.
Once we have a clear picture of our values we can then begin the process of articulating an invigorating and motivating Life Vision. Drawing on our many years of reading, research and study in the areas of behavioral psychology, motivation and financial life planning we have refined the “Visioneering” exercise to regularly asking ourselves the following questions:
- What do I/We want to BE?
- What do I/We want to DO?
- What do I/We want to HAVE?
The order of the questions is important. It places emphasis on the most important focus of a life well lived – “What do I/We want to BE?” This question asks you to articulate who you want to become as a person going forward. BE includes being happy, being healthy, being a good friend and family member, being a good life partner, parent or grandparent and all that these aspirations entail. Simply stated, BE is how you are remembered when you are not around…
The DO question helps you determine what personal and professional achievements you want to accomplish and what hobbies and interests would you like to develop. Whether it is running a marathon, furthering educational studies, starting a business, taking a special vacation, taking up a hobby or any other activity or pursuit that you find inspiring, DO is the fabric that is weaved from a life well-lived.
The HAVE question helps you determine what things in life are important for you to have. A house, a car, a recreational property, and lifestyle “toys” can make life more enjoyable. That said, they take money and life energy to buy and take care of; life energy that could be re-directed to DO and BE activities. Think carefully about what things are really important to you. Many wise people understand the meaning of “less is more” and live better lives as a consequence.
No matter your age, or your current stage in life, a well-articulated Life Vision will help you plan and anticipate future needs, objectives and goals. You are then able to create and execute action plans, including a financial action plan, to ensure that your Vision is realized. To guide you in your Vision process, and help you articulate and prioritize your BE, DO, HAVE’s we developed a Vision Action Planner. The Vision Action Planner is a two-part tool, starting with a values-clarification exercise and then using your values to help you determine your most important individual and, where applicable, family’s BE, DO, HAVE’s. You can link to a downloadable and printable PDF copy of the Vision Action Planner here. Use it as a guide and a starting point. Personalize it. Use as much paper as you need to develop your own Life Vision and prioritize your (and where applicable, your family’s) goals and objectives. Write your notes out by hand. Add as much detail as you can. Add diagrams and pictures. Make your Vision as real possible to you and the other stakeholders in the equation. On the idea of writing out your Vision, Forbes published a great article last year by author, Mark Murphy which provided scientific insight on why written goals are so powerful. Here is a link to the Forbes article:
Your BE, DO, HAVE’s are the heart of your Life Vision and such are integral to building an effective Financial Life Plan. So, we ask that you share the results of your exercise with us, if at all possible. We can then incorporate the results into your household financial life plan and connect the other elements of the Natural Wealth Process through the year to your unique household Vision to help you and your family realize your most important life goals and objectives.
Call or email us if you need guidance in articulating your Vision and how best to connect your Vision to your financial life planning. Please share your thoughts and feelings about the exercise so we can continue to improve our process and tools going forward. Our Vision here at 360 Private Wealth Management | Manulife Securities Incorporated is to make the Natural Wealth® Process the most effective financial life planning system available to individuals and families wanting to make the very most of their personal and financial resources.
David J. Luke, CFP, RFP, CLU, CH.F.C., CIM | Financial Advisor
360 Private Wealth Management | Manulife Securities Incorporated
Unit 1 – 25 Scurfield Boulevard, Winnipeg, MB R3Y 1G4
Main Office 204.925.5868 | Direct 204.925.2073| Fax 204.925.2263 | Toll Free 844.688.3656