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Ask Dana: A Column Where Personal Finance & Life Intersect

August 26, 2020

Financial Life Planning connects the dots between our financial realities and the lives we long to live. Life Planning focuses on the human side of financial planning. This is where we can tap into our inspirational fire. This is where the magic happens.

The creator of this movement is George Kinder, CFP®. He is the recipient of numerous awards for leadership in the financial planning industry and is famous for his 3 Questions, which I will include for you at the end of this column.

The 3 Questions are an integral part of the Kinder Institute of Life Planning’s process called EVOKE®, which stands for Exploration, Vision, Obstacles, Knowledge, and Execution. Registered Life Planners® use this mindfulness-based methodology to inspire clients to discover, articulate, and pursue their aspirations. It is much different than a typical discovery meeting in financial services. We discuss and resolve obstacles that may exist as blockages. Instead of a traditional financial plan, our financial life plan is alive and adaptable, and we align a client’s financial resources in support of what is most meaningful in their lives.

We have to make this happen! That is how you feel once you have tapped into this process. I know this because it happened to me, as well as many other clients and friends. For the last 15 years, I’ve been providing financial advice and offering holistic financial planning services. In 2016, I was intrigued by George Kinder’s educational program for advisors and accountants and signed up for the journey.

To become a Registered Life Planner®, part of the intensive training program includes going through the methodology personally. I began at the beginning and answered the 3 questions, as well as completed a financial inventory exercise. I then went through the EVOKE® process with another planner for five intense full days. During the rounds of personal dialogue and interaction with your life planner it hits you. Clarity. Focus. Inspirational Fire. The things, people, principals, and/or dreams that matter most to you are front and center during this process and you realize that your life needs to change if you currently aren’t living the life you were meant to live.

What was also surprising is that it seemed very attainable, rather than an unrecognizable longing that was in my head. We would need a longer column to go through all the amazing details, which I’ll spare you except for that since then, my whole life has changed both personally and professionally. Within a few months, I moved my residence and was inspired to make other changes step by step. Looking back since then, I find myself married instead of single, in a new home of my dreams, a business owner instead of an employee, and last but not least, a new mom.

I encourage everyone reading this to be open to possibilities in general and take some time to answer George Kinder’s famous 3 questions. Before you begin, find a quiet and peaceful space and take a few moments to settle in for the exercise.

Question #1. Imagine that you are financially secure, that you have enough money to take care of your needs, now and in the future. The question is…how would you live your life? Would you change anything? Let yourself go. Don’t hold back on your dreams. Describe a life that is complete, that is richly yours.

Question #2. This time you visit your doctor who tells you that you have only 5–10 years left to live. The good part is that you won’t ever feel sick. The bad news is that you will have no notice of the moment of your death. What will you do in the time you have remaining to live? Will you change your life and how will you do it?

Question #3. This time your doctor shocks you with the news that you have only one day left to live. Notice what feelings arise as you confront your very real mortality. Ask yourself: What did I miss? Who did I not get to be? What did I not get to do?

For those who would like to explore the life planning process on your own, check out the website: www.lifeplanningforyou.com or read George Kinder’s book, Life Planning for You. If you are the type of person that prefers one-on-one guidance, please don’t hesitate to contact me to learn more about how I can help inspire you on your journey and manage your financial life.

Dana R. Mascalo CFP®, RLP®, AAMS®, C(k)P® is a Managing Partner with TrinityPoint Wealth, an independent SEC Registered Investment Advisory firm in Milford, CT and Charlotte, NC. Dana advises high net worth clients with complex needs and is sought after by individuals, families, business owners and executives all over CT and the United States. Acting as their personal CFO, Dana looks at a client’s entire financial life with a visionary lens, advising on investment portfolios, retirement planning, life transitions, exit planning for business owners, customized advanced cash-flow planning and multi-generational wealth transfer strategies.

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