Money is inert. Actually, money is less than inert. Other than the physical form of coins and paper, money is completely intangible; though money is vibrant. So, we ask ourselves, how can the word vibrancy be attached to money if money is merely conceptual?
The answer: Money, wealth, or lack of wealth contains a great potential for vibrancy in financial planning and in life itself.
Consider a personal goal. Perhaps your goal is to accumulate enough capital to put a down payment on a home or to pay off student loans. The decision to purchase a property or get out of debt provides a level of energy, expectation, and creates action. That very action is vibrancy itself; not only the willingness but also the actualization of the steps necessary to bring you closer to your goals.
Your mind can create a picture, and even a physical sensation, of how it will feel when the home becomes yours or the final payment on the loan is paid—which stimulates vibrancy.
Charles and Emily were considering the next phase of their life—retirement was a scant 8 years away. The children were raised, independent, and they had built a lifestyle that was very comfortable. But as they looked at their financial picture, they were concerned that they couldn’t sustain the same lifestyle after their paychecks stopped.
After a thorough financial analysis, it was determined that they needed to make some shifts in their spending today in order to add funds into their accumulation accounts and provide more security in the long term. Charles and Emily weren’t happy about changing their lifestyle—they felt they had “earned” the comfort they were enjoying and weren’t ready to give it up.
“We really enjoy our travels, our weekends away, and all the fun things we’re doing now,” Charles stated most emphatically.
“I can certainly understand that, it sounds great.” I replied. “But I am concerned that in retirement, you will have fewer options and more constrictions on your spending and frankly, there are too many variables that we cannot know now. Your overall plan would be more secure if you were willing to cut your discretionary spending by 20% until retirement.”
Emily reacted first. “It feels very difficult to make these changes and it certainly doesn’t feel celebratory, especially after all we’ve been through to raise and educate Maya and Scott.”
“Let’s try something.” I offered. “Tell me about a time that you made a shift in your spending to accomplish an important goal.”
Charles answered in a blink. “That’s easy: When we saved for our first home. We basically lived on mac & cheese and canned tuna. But we did it and saved for the down payment AND our bedroom furniture. It took us almost a year, if I’m remembering correctly.”
Emily nodded. They were both smiling.
I followed up. “Was it painful? Your smiles don’t indicate a lot of pain.”
No, it wasn’t painful, in fact, every deposit we made in the bank was thrilling, like climbing a mountain and getting closer and closer to the top.”
Emily and Charles looked at each other and smiled.
Whether this is your first time creating an important goal or you are rekindling your excitement about a specific target, you need to capture the fire necessary to move you in a strong, energetic and active way—with vibrancy—to achieve what is closest aligned with your highest values. Let’s face it: Unless the goal was really important to you, any attempts would be met with moderate, at best, results. Think of it like a diet, a course at school, learning an instrument or any skill; once you decide to do something, you need to match your desired result with an equal measure of active steps and sufficient reason to make a change.
Start with a past achievement. Understand the why’s and how’s of your journey. If this is a first, begin with your vision of your outcome: What does it feel like? By adding vibrancy to your money life, you change your mindset, your actions and increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.
I know you can do it!