Better Decisions, Better People, Best Lives
This week I wanted to take a step back from purely financial topics and talk about the driving motivation behind starting my own firm. For most everyone who starts their own independent financial planning firm, there is a desire to work more closely with clients and become invested in their well-being, so I certainly won’t claim any unique stake to that sentiment. However, we all have unique ideals and motivations for our work with clients, so I wanted to take the time to share mine with all of you. The theme for my work boils down to Better Decisions, Better People, Best Lives. There is a lot to unpack in that, so we will start at the most logical point, the end.
Everyone wants to live their best life, that’s pretty much a no brainer. However, it begins to get more complicated when you ask someone to define their best life as their description can get vague pretty quickly. Many people think their best lives involve winning the lottery (which is more often than not very detrimental, perhaps a topic for another blog post) and spending the rest of your days living in the lap of luxury. Unfortunately, most people would also agree that relying on winning the lottery in order to live your best life is perhaps unrealistic, so this generally doesn’t work out. But what is your best life? Obviously it will be different for everyone so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution and it can certainly change as you make your way through life.
Starting with an idea of your best life is a great place to begin because if you’re not working towards your best life, what is the point? This is where being intentional in your goals and decisions is vital. Perhaps your best life is to work in the ER making sure those that need the most care can get it, or perhaps you want to create your own practice and care for your clients on a more personal level. Maybe your best life is to work as a medical professional for a number of years and then create a consulting company to give yourself greater amounts of flexibility as you get closer to retirement. Perhaps you want to leave the field altogether and get into something completely different, or your best life doesn’t take a profession into account at all. The process for and paths to these types of lives are incredibly varied and one may not fit another one, so it’s important to spend time being introspective and be intentional about where you want to go in life. As I mentioned earlier, this vision for your best life can and will change so it is best to leave yourself plenty of room to make changes and take advantage of different options. So now that you have an idea of what your best life entails, we will go to the beginning of the process and look at better decisions.
Obviously if you’re looking to create a financial plan with an advisor, the goal is to use it to make better financial decisions. That is why financial planning exists. But Better Decisions is about more than asset allocation or diversification or any of that, but looking at your best life and making intentional decisions that will get you there. If you are going through life hoping that your best life will show up around retirement age, then you’ll likely be disappointed. But for pretty much everyone I’ve talked to, your best life is not solely based around money so we need to look at decisions that lead to your best life but may not lead to the most money.
Perhaps you’re getting burnt out and are hoping that you can last long enough to make enough money to retire early so you can get out of your field. It may make sense to transition to a job that pays less but takes less of a toll on your mental and physical health. Better Decisions is not about a financial plan, it’s about creating a life plan that works within your finances to make sure you have the best chance of success. While the definition of success or your best life may change or be different from everyone else, the process of intentionally making decisions to reach that goal is the whole point of Better Decisions. So, we have now spent time thinking about our Best Life, and have consciously worked to make Better Decisions, what is all this about Better People?
If you are skeptical about this step and how this could be a large overreach on my part, I understand. Better People is not about making sure every client gives to charity or meets some level of social good or anything like that. Better People is about making sure that you spend time on more than just your work and taking in the experiences of a full life. For you, this could mean taking time to learn mindfulness, taking a trip to a location you have always wanted to visit, or experiencing something you’ve long wanted to try. For me, this means making sure my clients and their families are celebrating their wins and taking the time to enjoy the life they have built. Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are under a lot of stress and there’s a high rate of burnout for a good reason. I want to make sure that you are able to be the best nurse or doctor that you can be with the ability to focus on your patients as well as move your family towards your best lives.
When we discuss making better decisions, and leading better lives, the concept of intention is very important. Too many people drift through life and get what they put in. By becoming more intentional not only in your work, but your home life and your financial decisions, you’ll be able to live fuller and more satisfying lives. This can be a tall order as a lot of people, and medical professionals especially, are incredibly busy in their daily lives, so living with intention can be just another bullet point on their to-do list that always gets pushed to the back. Making sure you practice being intentional in your decisions and your relationships will certainly help lead to your best life, so it may be worth moving it up the priority list.
These are the concepts upon which I built my business, Better Decisions, Better People, Best Life. These are concepts I truly believe in and take on as my duty to you as you work through planning out your best life. If you have questions or want to chat about this approach, send me a message and I will be happy to sit down and walk through bringing intentionality to your life plan.