On a recent bright Sunday afternoon, five women and I enjoyed wine, cheese, coffee, and amazing conversation. Normally you don’t think of “coffee” with wine and cheese. What was also unconventional was what we were talking about: dreams, fears, and finances.
What led up to that inspiring discussion? An enthusiastic reader of my professional eNewsletter, “Coffee with Caroline” invited four of her friends to her home, and over different foods and beverages that helped everyone feel as comfortable as possible, we talked about questions they had with strategies that all women should consider when it comes to their personal finances. The whole experience was quite moving for me, as it is every time. I have noticed some powerful similarities across the, “Coffee Breaks with Caroline” that I have been privileged to offer.
First, I often am friends only with the host before I venture into her living room or kitchen, toting coffee to share. Second, though all the women who attend each session are very accomplished in life, they have different degrees of confidence with the decisions they are making with their finances. Thirdly, and perhaps most profoundly, all of the women I’ve met have a cautious curiosity and a sincere openness to reflecting on their financial situations and both listening to perspectives from me and sharing when it works for them.
As I reflect on these meaningful “Coffee Breaks with Caroline,” I encourage you to take a moment and consider your own financial situation just like these courageous women. In this month where we celebrate our nation’s independence ask yourself: “What does financial independence look like for me?” Regardless of where you might be in this moment on your own journey to financial independence, here are three perspectives that I, as a Certified Financial PlannerTM, offer you:
- You are more than your financial net worth. Your financial net worth is a snapshot at a point in time. It reflects what you own and what you owe today. It does not define you; it is an indicator. Consider it an input to your overall financial health that reflects decisions you have made and circumstances both within and outside of your control over time. Just as with any metric, you can use this measure as a source of information and, as a result of reflecting on this information, determine what’s in your control and make changes to positively influence your financial future.
- You can positively influence your financial future. Regardless of how you have used money in the past, you can set yourself up for success with your financial future by spending less than you earn, maintaining emergency savings, and investing some amount of your savings in tax-deferred retirement accounts as well as taxable brokerage accounts. It may not be possible to do all of this today, but it is possible to do. It becomes possible moment by moment, day by day, with every decision you make each time any money comes into your control.
- Life happens. As I tell my own clients: “Life does not happen according to plan”. Think of your financial plan as your prioritized list of what you need, want, and wish to spend your money on both now and in the future. When things are tough, having a plan makes it easier to focus on what you need to take care of financially. When you’re introducing new savings behaviors or spending less, you’re able to stay motivated when you have an inspiring vision for yourself around what you want and why you’re changing behaviors. Key here is to realize that since life will present surprises no matter what, it’s critical to retain focus on your financial priorities in life, most importantly savings and investing strategies that will set you up for success over time.
Wherever you might be right now on your path to financial independence, know that you have options. As my father-in-law once told me, “Life is a series of priority calls.” And when it comes to how you spend your money, you can prioritize *you* by choosing with care and intention how you save, spend, and invest your finances.
If you would value a confidential complimentary conversation about your current approach to your finances, or if you and a group of friends would like to have your own “Coffee Break with Caroline,” know that I am here. It would be a privilege and a pleasure to understand what is important to you and offer financial perspective that you can use to realize financial independence with confidence.
Caroline Wetzel is one of Natural Nutmeg’s 10Best Winners for Business/Life Coach. Caroline is a Certified Financial PlannerTM (CFP®) and Vice President, Private Wealth Advisor with Procyon Private Wealth Partners, LLC. Procyon Private Wealth Partners, LLC and Procyon Institutional Partners, LLC (collectively “Procyon Partners”) are registered investment advisors with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). This article is provided for informational purposes only and for the intended recipient[s] only. This article may also include opinions and forward-looking statements which may not come to pass. Information is at a point in time and subject to change. Procyon Partners does not provide tax or legal advice.