27375. This is how many days the average person lives. According to Bob Goff in his inspiring new book, “Less if you eat saltwater candy, and fewer if you eat broccoli.” not distracted.
So according to Bob, and assuming my toffee consumption nets to broccoli, I have 10,525 days left, more or less. Here are some other ways to look at this numerically from my point of view. I have:
1,508 extra weekends
– 319 more US government holidays
– 116 concerts (approx)
– 29 more Thanksgiving meals
2 (soon to be 1) high school graduates
– 1 more…?
And how many of these Thanksgivings will I enjoy in the presence of my parents, both of whom I am fortunate to still have in my life? High School Boys and Sophomores – How many times will I make at least one of them lunch before moving to school? (Approximated number – about 200.)
“How many days do you have left? Calculate. Who will you decide to be, and what will you decide to do with the time you have left?” pleads Goff. “We can spend our remaining days focusing on the meaningful and the beautiful, the joyful and the purposeful, or we can drift aimlessly and throw away our wild and precious life.”
Where we failed financial planning
Therefore, the point is not to be sad about how little time we have left – but to be purposeful about the time left. And this is where Financial Planning fails us so much, in not connecting its recommendations better to our personal goal. However, this deficiency is also our greatest opportunity, to enable financial planning on purpose.
but how? It’s harder than you think, while also simpler than you might expect.
It’s tricky because you don’t know someone’s values, purpose, or intentions by asking them, “So what are your values? Your own purpose? Your intentions?”
Values, purpose, and intent are all great, of course – but they are also abstract. These ethereal concepts aren’t part of our everyday slang, so even when you can get an answer to straightforward questions like these, you’ll likely get something canned, that sounds more like a bank’s corporate mission statement than an expression of one’s unique motivations.
But it is simpler when we translate these abstract ideas into the language of life. For example, you can divide life into four notably non-financial areas that are common to most people:
Relationships (family, friends, co-workers)
Wellness (physical, psychological and spiritual)
Work (profession, profession, service)
Interests (reasons, hobbies, feelings)
All it takes is a good, open ended question to get someone to trade any of the above topics and most people will talk for 10-15 minutes (often more), especially with the help of the additional qualifications listed.
By stepping through a conversation like this, you’ll start to see some consistent themes, topics that come up across many categories, and topics that clearly elicit an emotional response. These elements reveal themselves and become answers to questions about values and purpose that you never had to ask.
The future of financial planning
The irony is that in the field of financial planning, “emotion” was used (and is still mostly used) only in pejorative terms. And while responding “emotionally” to a scenario that leads to suboptimal behavior is rarely a good thing, it is usually through emotion that our deepest intentions are illuminated—and thus become the compass for our planning. Often, it is through feelings that we discover the determination necessary to stick to the plan as well.
I think this is the future of financial planning. It’s not just improving someone’s asset allocation, increasing their retirement plan contributions, reducing taxes paid, appropriately shifting their risk through insurance, modernizing beneficiary designations, or paying for college.
Yes, all these things are generally good, but they are not in nature. they are made Good by discovering very; they are made good through intention that enables them.
The future of financial planning is to inculcate life into it, and this begins with the accounts of life itself, at least according to Bob Gough – and the Psalm: “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (NIV)
How do you plan to spend you?