Life Planning focuses on the human side of financial planning, which is what we’re all about at BW. In Life Planning we discover a client’s deepest and most profound goals by listening carefully and non-judgmentally. Then, using a mix of professional and advanced relationship skills, we inspire clients to pursue their aspirations, discuss and resolve obstacles, and create a concrete financial plan. We’re always standing by to provide ongoing guidance as clients accomplish their objectives.
In his book A Golden Civilization, George Kinder writes “Life Planning is the term for a kind of coaching that financial advisors do that is dedicated to discovering and delivering their clients into their dreams of freedom regardless of their means.”
How is financial planning different from Life Planning?
Life planning is financial planning with heart! When you step into a financial planner’s office, you typically have a goal in mind. You might be looking for a financial planner to figure out the amount required for your retirement, analyze and recommend your insurance needs, or perhaps minimize your tax bill. If the financial planner is good at their job, they’ll be able to get you that number, or build a clear tax strategy. They might even prepare a comprehensive financial plan for you, filled with solutions to the questions you’ve brought them. You’ll take this plan home and, if you’re like most people, that plan will sit in a corner of your filing cabinet for the rest of time.
If you work with a life planner, however, you quickly realize it just feels different.
In the first few meetings with a Life Planner, you’ll notice the planner does very little talking. Instead of graphs and spreadsheets, you’ll find a space in which you feel free to voice the things you find vitally important. You might feel heard for the first time.
Life Planners take fiduciary duty to the highest level. Acting only in your best interest, a Life Planner will listen to your entire story, paying attention to technical financial details as well as your personal goals and priorities. It’s how we know where your energy and inspiration come from, so we can help you embrace and step into your life.
Question: When would you choose a life planner over a financial planner?
Answer: Every time.
These quick scenarios illustrate the benefits of Life Planning:
You are an executive in Corporate America who has put work before anything else. Nearing your 40th birthday, you wonder to yourself where the time has gone. You yearn to take some serious time off – maybe even a sabbatical – to live in one of your bucket list cities or towns around the world, but it feels irresponsible. You fear destabilization.
You work in tech sales. The money is good, you’re earning lots of company stock, and it is work you find both challenging and fulfilling. Your partner feels very unfulfilled and loathes living in the city. W/he quit their full-time job to work part-time and spend more time at home with your two young children. You’re afraid to talk to your partner about the future and don’t even know where to start.
You’re a creative entrepreneur who has worked hard for ten years building your business, which is thriving. You’re proud of the impact you’ve made but somehow it doesn’t feel as good as you thought it would feel. Your business has become your entire life; there is a growing need to figure out how to weave a personal life back in. You have no idea what will happen to your business if you decide to put yourself first.
You’re a single woman in finance who has not stopped moving up the ranks since you graduated from business school. You love what you do and you’re great at it. You live in LA and feel the pressure to have the nice car, the perfect house…and the size of your bonuses have created a shopping habit. As an excellent derivatives trader, you’re afraid to admit you’ve never had the time or interest to master your personal finances.
You are a couple staring down the barrel of thirty-five years of retirement. Your adult kids have moved away with families of their own. You’ve both spent the last forty-five years working and saving diligently. Faced with all this free time, you wonder silently about who you’ve become. You wonder how to fill your free time while finding purpose.
Notice how financial details are significant in all of these scenarios, yet give an incomplete piece of the picture. Life Planners know that their clients’ goals, values, and personal experiences are inextricably tied to their financial well-being, and they’re trained to take a person’s entire self into account when building holistic financial strategies.
Life Planning starts with you and your vision
A financial planner will tell you how to get there financially. If you’re spending more than you make, a financial planner can show you how to make the financial trade-offs necessary to cut your spending. If you want to know how your investment portfolio for your future home down-payment should be different from your retirement savings, a financial planner can both teach you and execute on the agreed-upon strategy. A financial planner is the perfect solution for anyone who wants to understand their financial situation.
Although money is an essential factor in the formula of our lives, life can’t be solved with just dollars and cents. When you think back on your life, what do you cherish most? Life Planning focuses on the most essential elements you need in your life to feel free. In adulthood, these essential elements often get pushed aside or buried because we’re told to focus on society’s definition of “success.”
Life Planning helps clients learn to effectively use their time, energy, and talent. As a Life Planning client, you’ll put work into improving yourself, taking a pause from the chaos of everyday life to refocus energy on the aspects of life that ultimately matter most.
We all must make important decisions as we go through life, particularly as we work through big transitions like having a child, buying a house, or entering retirement. As you move through life making decisions for your career, family, health, spirituality, community, friends, and finances, Life Planning allows you to focus on the essential elements that bring you the greatest freedom and happiness.
As you make more and more decisions through the lens of your freedom, you’ll continue to attract joy into your life as well as the lives of those around you.
Every person’s story is unique, which is why everyone can benefit from a Life Planner. At Bradley Wealth, we believe sound technical finance and individual fiscal wealth is only a small building block in the foundation of a life well-lived. A successful Life Plan can only be constructed by understanding individual strengths, weaknesses, experiences, and goals.
Our team is ready to give you the choice of consciously creating your life.