At Wood Smith Advisors, we believe that financial planning is about so much more than your money. Instead, we subscribe to the idea that a financial plan is created to help individuals and families live fulfilling, meaningful lives using their wealth as a tool to achieve their goals. This is why it’s critically important to create a life plan before sitting down with an advisor to create your financial plan.
Our team has written before about prioritizing goals in retirement and creating a budget that aligns with what you care about. The truth is that when you head into this new season of life, it’s important that you have a deep understanding of your core values as an individual and, if relevant, as a couple.
Start by jotting down 3-6 core values that you know you have and want to carry into retirement. A few examples might be:
Note: these are just a handful of examples, get creative! You can write them in a journal as you work to explore your life plan, or save them in a shared digital file for you and your spouse to look over together.
Once you’re clear on what you value most, you can start to imagine a life plan that feels fulfilling and meaningful. This might mean that you and your spouse or partner sell your home to travel around the world and learn about other cultures for months at a time, living abroad for extended periods. It might mean that you continue to live in your current home and lean into putting down roots in your community – volunteering at the local library, participating in events, and growing relationships with friends and family nearby.
Take this opportunity to dream big dreams – whatever that means for you. Think about what your ideal day, month, or year would look like during retirement. If it helps, leverage journaling as an exercise to clearly define this “life plan” and to create tangible goals or action items to help you achieve it in your day-to-day.
Recently, I had the privilege of getting together with my extended family for a special reunion. Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, this was the first time in a long while that many of us had seen one another. We were able to celebrate big birthdays and milestones that had passed or were upcoming, spend quality time with those who are facing health problems, relished the sound of kids running around and playing, and enjoyed undistracted moments with cousins, siblings, parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents.
All around, it was incredible just to put down our phones, be together, and connect.
Part of my life plan has always been to focus on family. Spending this type of quality time is something that’s deeply meaningful to me, and my personal financial plan reflects that. If this resonates with you, you may find that your personal life and financial plan include splurging on a cabin for a week every year to reconnect with loved ones, or to travel to see family who you haven’t been able to catch up with for a long while. Don’t be afraid to customize your life plan to your unique situation, whatever that may be.
The beauty of creating a financial life plan is that you can then reverse engineer a financial plan to help you make it a reality. By making decisions about where to direct your cash flow in retirement, or what tradeoffs you want to make, you can create a lifestyle that you love both now and in the future.
Do you need help defining your goals and values? Want to build a life plan that is uniquely meaningful to you? We’d love to hear from you, and explore whether or not we can help. Get in touch with us today by clicking here.
Wood Smith Advisors, a woman-owned Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), is a fee-only financial services firm that partners with its clients to simplify their financial lives. We focus on women, entrepreneurs, and individuals with complex financial situations, providing objective and competent advice, education and services to help them develop and build their businesses and reach their financial goals. We can be reached by clicking here.
"Finance Made Simple" blog posts are intended for educational purposes and not for specific advice. Each person’s situation is different. Consult your financial advisor for advice relating to topics discussed.