Connecticut Money: 3 questions to get your finances in sync

This article was published in the New Haven Register on March 14, 2021.

How well do you know yourself? This is far from an idle question when it comes to building financial security for you and your family. Understanding what drives you is the key to creating — and following — a financial plan that works.

Solid financial planning is driven by your individual needs and goals, and a good financial planner will discuss your values and objectives with you before setting pen to paper.

Subscribing to a one-size-fits-all financial strategy is not likely to be effective. Clearly people have different aspirations and start from different places. Beyond that, however, it’s vital to have your financial plan in sync with your inner self, because you’ll be far more likely to follow through on implementing your plan.

Unfortunately, some financial advisers ask a new client cursory questions about their personal situation and goals, and sometimes clients only offer superficial answers despite an adviser’s best efforts.

George Kinder, an internationally recognized trainer of financial planners, developed a method to address this problem called Life Planning. The author and founder of the Kinder Institute of Life Planning created “George Kinder’s Three Questions” as a way to dig deeper into each client’s inner life and true motivations.

The questions are designed to help you ponder your priorities and think about how to gain fulfillment in your life. If you take the time to seriously consider the Three Questions, it can help you in your quest for financial freedom:

Question One: I want you to 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? What would you do with the money? Would you change anything? Let yourself go. Don’t hold back your dreams. Describe a life that is complete, that is richly yours.

Question Two: This time, you visit your doctor who tells you that you have five to 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 Three: 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 dreams will be left unfulfilled? What do I wish I had finished or had been? What do I wish I had done? What did I miss?

There’s a quote on the website for the Kinder Institute that sums up the mindset of Life Planning: “Nobody has ever wanted their life to be all about owning a diversified portfolio. Rather, a diversified portfolio makes possible the things we want to do with our lives. But what are those things?” For podcast fans, please tune in to our fun financial podcast “unfettered wealth” from your favorite source. You can also pull up our podcasts on YouTube. Enjoy!