The Spirit of Financial Planning
I can’t claim to know much about any particular religion, I didn’t attend church as a child and my lasting memory of RE lessons at school was watching E.T. on an old fashioned tube TV that got wheeled round from classroom to classroom, but I can’t help thinking that there is something in the idea of us all having a ‘spirit’, ‘soul’ or ‘true-self’, an innate human ‘essence’ that is individual and unique.
Have you ever felt uncomfortable with something without being able to put your finger on exactly why? Financial decisions can make us feel that way and it’s often because, sometimes unbeknown to our conscious mind, our decisions are not aligned with our ‘spirit’.
I believe that the first step in financial planning should be to explore what we truly value in life, what feeds our spirit. Everybody’s values are individual and unique but we often feel pressured to confirm to societies norms without really questioning what is important to us.
Through my work I am lucky enough to meet many different people at different stages in their lives. There is one question I ask a lot and interestingly it seems to be very difficult for people to answer.
What do you want your money to do for you?
The answer is different for everybody and it is definitely not straightforward. There are many different and interrelated aspects of human existence and in turn there are many different ways in which our finances can either nourish or stifle our spirit.
Security, knowing that there will be food on the table and a roof over our heads tonight, is the starting point. If our finances don’t afford us a basic level of security it is hard to look past that.
Assuming our basic needs are met, what do we really want our money to do for us and is there a risk that we focus on having more at the expense of being more?