In the previous article, we talked about the differences between a resolution and a vision. In short, a resolution is a desire to change a single behavior in the short term, while a vision is a long term series of actions designed towards a desired successful outcome.
While vision statements are often associated with large organizations, having a personal vision statement enables financial life planners to better understand the dreams and aspirations of their clients and help them work towards those goals.
What Makes A Successful Vision?
A truly compelling vision comes from the heart and soul. Have you ever heard someone make a passionate or inspiring statement, or maybe made one yourself? Remember the feeling you had while hearing or making the statement?
If you can express your vision with that level of enthusiasm, it obviously means a great deal to you and it’s something you really want to accomplish. It’s a dream you might have consciously thought about for a while and pictured in your mind. Something you want enough that you’re willing to use your valuable time to schedule a meeting with a financial life planner to talk about it. And it’s important enough that you’re willing to make long term changes to your life to achieve.
How realistic should my vision be? Actually, we don’t want the client to limit themselves based on what they know in their heads. We want to hear what they would really want if current wealth was not a factor. Thus, factual data such as income level or assets are not a part of the actual vision itself. While these factors will come into play later when we work on the actual plan, as financial life planners we don’t make initial judgments on whether a vision is realistic or not. Only once we’ve understood and clarified your vision do we run an objective analysis. From there, we show you how close you would be and what options you could consider to move you towards your vision.
How We Help You Craft and Refine Your Vision
Whether you have a clearly defined vision or are just thinking about creating one, the overall process is similar. When we first engage with a new client, we start off with a guided conversation. What makes this process different with a financial life planner is that instead of focusing on financial goals, we’ll start with what is personally important to the client—namely values, priorities, and yes, vision.
What do you want more of in life? What do you want less of? What have you always wanted to do? If you didn’t have to work your current job, what would you do differently? These are the types of questions we might cover. We’ll also approach each topic from different directions to pinpoint and help you accurately and clearly express your vision.
With your vision in mind, we’ll then work with you to create a financial picture that shows you how close you are to realizing your vision. It will include an actionable plan to get started and if you’d like, some options to consider if you want to get there faster or in an alternative manner.
How We Help Keep You On Target
It’s natural that along the way, real life events will intervene and create challenges. An unexpected job change or home repairs can throw a wrench into any plan. As you deal with such obstacles, it’s natural to forget about your vision or even think that it’s no longer attainable. Even without obstacles, the daily grind and routine of life can take your mind off of the ultimate goal. Taking a sabbatical from work or buying a nicer car might help you deal with life, but also affect your progress towards your ultimate goal.
As your financial life planners, our service to you does not end when we present the plan. We’ll be there with you every step along the journey. The plan is not a static document—we’ll update it along the way as your financial picture changes and new opportunities emerge. We’ll review and update financial projections. We’ll check in periodically with you to update on where you are towards your vision, and whether any adjustments are necessary. In short, we will keep the torch of your vision burning while you deal with daily life.
One of our clients had a vision of transitioning to a career working remotely as an executive coach within five years. So we created a budgeting and spending plan to help him smoothly navigate the career change. Along the way, we used our network of contacts to share coaching-related educational and networking opportunities with him. Not only did this directly help him towards his goal, but it also kept the goal in mind as he continued to work in his old career.
A second client wanted to take two years off from work to undertake a spiritual journey to India. Before she began, we went through a financial analysis to make sure she had enough financial resources to make such a trip. Once her trip began, we continued to provide financial oversight and assistance. We met regularly virtually to make sure she was on track with her spending plan for her trip and had full access to what she needed. We also made recommendations on financial moves she could make to maximize her temporarily unemployed status, such as selling stocks at a lower capital gains rate. Then, as the trip came to a close and she prepared to re-enter the workforce, we made sure she had enough cash flow to account for the time needed to find a new job, and offered feedback and guidance on her job search.
It Starts With A Single Step
As a famous tech entrepreneur once said, “We overestimate what we can do in one year, but underestimate what we can do in ten years.” Achieving a vision might look extremely daunting and far-fetched, but like most things worth accomplishing, it starts with a single step. We partner with our clients to help them develop and realize their visions. Take that first step today and contact us for more information on how to get started.