Five Keys to Creating Harmony Between Your Personal Life and Your Financial Life
Financial concerns consistently rank among the most stressful elements of a person’s life and the effects of that stress can be intensely disruptive to one’s overall sense of balance and wellbeing.
While there is a growing trend focusing on a holistic approach to physical, emotional, spiritual, environmental and intellectual wellness, financial wellness is often left out of the equation. If you find that the way you manage your money is based on one set of values and priorities and the rest of your life is based on another, it may be time to consider this crucial connection.
But how do you begin? As outlined below, there are five key steps you can take to align your personal and financial life, and in the process achieve a more peaceful and centered existence and state of financial wellbeing.
1. Declutter and Organize
To begin to understand your financial life, the first, all-important step is to clear the decks—remove any unnecessary documents, and create space for what is to come. Done correctly, this will be quite a time consuming effort – but worth it! Ideally, you should commandeer a spare room for several days, one that you can walk away from when needed.
Review and sort all of your financial records—from every drawer or cabinet you have. This will include an organization of ALL financial documentation in your home. Documents should be segregated into either shred or filing piles. Please refer to IRS.gov for recordkeeping guidelines so that you can feel comfortable destroying outdated records. Organize and file remaining items by category in a comprehensive recordkeeping system.
When you have finished, you’ll find that you’ve applied a “California Closets” approach to organizing your financial life. For most people, they describe a sense of feeling lighter and less stressful after such a major purge.
2. Ignite Your Personal Vision
Once you have created space and feel organized, the next step is to get to the heart of what’s most important to you and identify your true purpose. Be open to the possibility of realizing your highest aspirations, including financial security and personal fulfillment.
This self-discovery is a crucial step that should NOT be rushed or skipped. The objective is to redirect the focus of your financial life through the lens of what brings you joy, what you hope to accomplish and contribute professionally and personally, the lifestyle you wish to create, and the legacy you hope to leave behind.
Begin the visionary process by being open to discovering your true purpose and curious as to what that means for you. Allocate time to brainstorming on your personal strengths, desires, and what brings peace or satisfaction. Explore vision exercises which can be found searching online or at the bookstore. Consider a series of meetings with an inspiring mentor or a life coach. Others may embrace alternative therapeutic approaches from a spiritual advisor or energy therapist. Maintain your curiosity until a magical spark fires you up inside and your inner wisdom shines with radiant energy and vigor.
3. Choose Financial Advice Wisely and Find the Right Partner
After you’ve identified your financial resources and have determined what lights you up inside, you may find it challenging to translate those key variables into a decisive financial plan of action. If knowing exactly where to start seems insurmountable, professional advice from the right partner may help.
Because the stakes are particularly high, you will want to be meticulous when choosing an advisor. Beyond experience and credentials, you will want an advisor with whom you connect on a personal level—one who can relate to your values and worldview.
The good news is that the financial advice landscape is much different than it used to be. There are now financial life planners who combine the vision component above with customary financial planning, or you can choose a traditional financial planner or advisor and ask them to incorporate your vision. After narrowing down advisors based on their financial expertise, choosing one who will champion the continued alignment of your financial plan with your life goals and true purpose will help you maintain a healthy financial and life balance.
4. Implementing a Manageable Action Plan
At this stage, you will have awakened your true purpose and identified gaps between your personal priorities and financial resources. You will have engaged a skilled advisor to build a comprehensive plan to achieve your ultimate goals. Far too often, the best-laid plans fall flat when it comes to the execution.
Your advisor/planner should provide a detailed action plan that identifies everything you need to accomplish to achieve your ideal financial life. To ensure the greatest chance of follow through, each long-term goal should be broken down into manageable short-term objectives that can be completed in 3 to 6 months. Smaller successes along the way will bring a sense of accomplishment and foster commitment to the plan.
5. Commit to Regular Financial Wellness Checkups
The final step in the process requires an ongoing commitment to reconnect with your financial life advisor at least twice a year. While time consuming, it is imperative.
Most people find time for the things they consider important—whether it be exercise, a weekly manicure, or other leisure activities. And many would not consider missing an annual physical, or even a hair appointment, but they often don’t lend that same sense of priority to their financial life plan. Holistic financial planners would make the case that taking the time to ensure that your financial affairs are in perfect order can leave you feeling just as energized and centered as a day at the spa.
Regular follow-up carries the reward of seeing the progress you are making on your way to achieving the life you desire. It is also an opportunity to address any life changes that should be reflected in your plan, and to identify opportunities created by external factors like the economy or financial markets.
It is absolutely possible to create harmony between your personal life and your financial life. As this article has outlined, if you can be open to greater possibilities and are willing to realign your focus based on a discovery of what’s important to you, the highest level of fulfillment can be well within your grasp.
Dana McLaughlin, CFP®, is a Senior Wealth Advisor and Financial Life Planner with Beirne Wealth Consulting Services, LLC, a privately owned, SEC Registered Investment Advisor with about $2 billion in AUM. With a thoughtful, creative, and holistic planning approach, Dana is responsible for advising clients throughout the country on financial organization, investments, customized financial life planning, retirement, advanced cash-flow analysis, and estate planning. Dana focuses on helping clients to achieve a sense of financial wellbeing by helping them articulate their most important personal goals and connecting those goals with their financial life regularly. Dana has also completed Reiki levels 1 & 2. You may reach Dana at DMclaughlin@Beirnewealth.com or (203) 951-0306.
About Beirne Wealth Consulting Services, LLC Beirne Wealth Consulting Services, LLC (“BWC”) is a growing, privately owned, SEC Registered Investment Advisor with about $2 billion in assets under management and over 25 employees in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Florida. BWC provides independent, fee-based investment management services and customized financial planning solutions. Our institutional business provides consulting expertise to defined benefit and defined contribution plans, endowments, foundations and non-profit organizations. Our private clients include high net-worth individuals and prominent families, many of whom bring complex wealth management challenges and multigenerational planning needs. For more information, please visit: www.beirnewealth.com or give us a call today at 888-231-6372.