Blog: Tendrils

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Growing Stronger Day by Day

A Lifestyle of Retirement

Posted by on August 31, 2009 in Financial Planning, Musings | 0 comments

What if retirement were closer than you think? How might such a realization change your day-to-day mood, choices, or priorities?

According to financial advisor Kent Thune’s definition of retirement, he is already retired. And according to my own definition, I am much closer than I ever thought. (See Born at Starbucks) This realization got me thinking…

What if retirement were a lifestyle instead of a season or point in time? Instead of pie in the sky just before you die, it’s steak on your plate while you wait?

What if more of us sought to incorporate into today or the near future those characteristics of life that we thought we had to wait another 10, 20, 30, or more years to enjoy?

If you realized today that you are or could soon be “retired” (according to your own personal definition), what difference would that make?

In what ways would that free you?

And – what changes might you realistically be able to make – today or in the near future – to make this more of a reality?

How We Know What Isn’t So

Posted by on August 24, 2009 in Financial Planning, Readings | 0 comments

Several years ago, a colleague recommended to me How We Know What Isn’t So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life by Thomas Gilovich. He said it explores present-day myths that persist despite scientific evidence to the contrary. I haven’t yet read the book, but I was so intrigued by the concept, that it’s stuck with me and become a tool I use to check my own thoughts and assumptions.

How do we know what isn’t so?

I used to think I wanted to live the “corporate lifestyle.” My first clue to the contrary was in grad school. I was applying for positions with the Big 5 accounting firms, and a professor told me that one day I’d be paying someone to pick up my dry cleaning, do my grocery shopping, cooking, etc. She said it as if this was a desirable inevitability, but to me it wasn’t. I didn’t want to be working so much that I didn’t have time to pick out my own fruits and vegetables or enjoy some of the simple pleasures of life. And yet, I accepted the offer of my dream job with a Big 5 firm in Charlotte.

Sometimes we have to live the dream to realize it’s not our true desire. What had I been hoping the corporate lifestyle would bring me? What was it I had been searching for in a way that missed the mark? What different choice might I have made if my true desires had been more clear to me?

It is “imperative that you and your clients understand … their underlying motives for the significant financial decisions of their lives. Without this understanding, your work could be based on faulty logic.” ~ Courtney Pullen

So I ask you …

How do you assist your clients in determining their financial goals?

How do you help them evaluate whether or not their stated goals are their true authentic goals?

As Prevalent as Depression

Posted by on August 18, 2009 in Financial Therapy, Readings | 0 comments

Did you know that compulsive buying is about as prevalent as depression??? Well, it is.

The World Health Organization estimates the prevalence of depression among US adults to be 6.7%. According to a study conducted by Stanford University, 5.8% of US adults suffer from “problematic and uncontrolled buying behaviors.”

So why don’t we hear more about compulsive buying? Is “retail therapy” so normalized that we turn a blind eye to the havoc it can wreak on marriages and families, the contribution it makes to bankruptcy filings, the illegal activity it can promote, and the emotional strain it causes???

It’s difficult to watch TV or read a magazine without seeing an ad for an antidepressant medication. It’s impossible to watch TV or look at a magazine without being bombarded with highly sophisticated marketing, which is designed to make us want to buy, buy, buy. And yet there’s a stigma associated with discussing someone’s spending habits or proposing their spending may be out of hand.

How many friends or family members do you know who are on an antidepressant? Based on this estimate, how many people might you know who are privately struggling with compulsive buying? Perhaps they could use some “retail therapy” therapy.

What are your thoughts???

Born at Starbucks

Posted by on August 10, 2009 in Financial Planning, Musings | 1 comment

Starbucks Coffee Chat

The inspiration for this forum was born out a of discussion at Starbucks. It was the first time I’d met financial planner Kent Thune, and we were discussing our thoughts on the “softer side” or “interior” of financial planning.

Specifically, we were discussing the need to have clients clarify what they mean by “retirement.” What does that look like? What type of lifestyle do you want to lead? How active will you be? Where will you be living? What will you be doing?

Kent shared his definition of retirement and then followed up with – “So according to my definition of retirement, I am already retired.”

Wow. “Already retired.” What a concept.

For at least a month, I tried to come up with my own definition of retirement. But what I kept coming back to was Kent’s – “Doing whatever I want, whenever I want – within reason.” I’ve not been able to find one that fits my view of my retirement any better than that, as my idea of retirement is a season of meaningful, directed activity. Granted, to be practical, that idea would need to be clarified from time to time – to move it from the abstract to the concrete. But as a starting point, it works for me.

So how about you — What is your definition of retirement?

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