In today's episode I use a framework from George Kinder that I believe helps people get a clearer picture of the causes they desire their time and money to go towards personally, professionally, and philanthropically. Listen in for more!
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JOSH KLOOZ, CFP®, MBA
1780 Hughes Landing | Suite 570
The Woodlands, TX 77380
Music by bensound.com
Hello and welcome in again to the Wisdom and Wealth Podcast. Last week we spoke about the importance of writing your eulogy and focusing in on the purpose of why you're living your life and what you want your life to count for, as kind of the basis of the financial planning relationship, when we get bogged down in the minutia of the numbers and miss the forest for the trees. This week I want to walk through further questions that I believe that is helpful for clients and prospects to walk through as they go through the financial planning process. So I'm going to use these three questions that are brought to me and I discovered from a man by the name of George Kinder. I find that they're very helpful, they're very clarifying and to a degree, they also they sting just a little bit and maybe I'll walk you through just, you know, kind of my personal vantage point a little bit as well. But the three questions begin like this the first question asks the simple question of hey, if money were not an option, what would you do? How would you spend your time? What would you do with your life If you didn't have to work a job or work at a business for money and you could be an absentee owner. You know, fill in the blank, however. You want to arrive there, but how would you live your life differently? What would you do? And I like this question because it strikes at the essence and the core of the fact that time is our most precious resource and we want that time to be meaningful. One of the hardest things for me personally to witness in the financial planning arrangement is if somebody doesn't enjoy what they do. And I say that because for me personally, I've lived it to a degree in a previous life. I had an amazing experience as an infantry officer straight out of college. I enjoyed that job a great deal and that calling a great deal, but I struggled once I left the military with kind of a sense of unease. I didn't really think that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing on this earth. I felt that there was something else that I was supposed to be doing. And when I answered this question, I came down to just a few basic realities, a few basic thoughts that stuck with me. As far as like, what do I want more than anything? And first and foremost, it was meaningful work. I want to be able to invest my time in something that I know for a fact. I was called to do. That was the genesis of me getting an MBA me seeking out avenues and roads into the wealth management and financial planning space. I'm so glad that I did that. I'm so glad that I answered that question, and what I realized were what I wanted most wasn't terribly extravagant. The second piece that I thought long and hard about was that I wanted if money were no option was the opportunity for my kids to attend a classical Christian school. By most people's standards, you know, it's not a big deal, but for me classical education was a way in which I experienced the world from a different window. I saw things that I'd never seen before and I enjoyed that process. Even though I was only in it for a small time in college, to a great degree I had enough of a taste of that form of education that I wanted that education for my children very much so. This led us down a path of starting a private classical Christian school. I can remember the first time I first prayed about it openly with my wife, and I remember I wouldn't recommend that you do that out of the blue, because my wife literally looked to me and said which wife are you planning on doing this with? She's joking, of course, and we laugh about it to this day, but those were some of the things that meant a lot to me at the time when I answered those questions, and the beauty of this question is that, as you move through life, it's going to change and it's going to alter just a little bit Moving forward. The next question that Kinder asks folks to walk through is I need you to imagine for a minute that you're in the doctor's office and he sits you down and he says hey, I have bad news. You have 10 years left to live. Now, as morbid as that may seem, the purpose of the question is how are? The true question, rather, how are you going to live those remaining 10 years? What are you going to do? What are some of the things that you need to make sure that you do now that your time is compressed on this earth? The beauty about urgency is that it brings things to the top. It forces you to prioritize what is most meaningful to you and what is most impactful to you, and I pray that, if you're listening to this, you never have to endure that conversation. However, the framework is incredibly helpful. It's clarifying the next question I'm sorry to not let you off the hook, because it's even more morbid than the first. It says hey, imagine that rather than the doctor walking in and saying you've got 10 years to live, he says hey, you've got three to six months to live. And so the variation of the question now turns to what do you look back on in regret not starting? What do you look back on and regret not doing? What are the things that you look back on and say I really wish I would have invested in this relationship. I really wish I would have invested in this company with my time. I really wish I would have invested more in this area of my community. What are the things that you look back on and do to other constraints and other things going on? You just say I'll get to that later and you never did. The other aspect of this is when you look forward, you say OK, what are the things that, if that were to happen, god forbid that I would miss out on and feel like I'd missed out on going forward? What are those events going forward that you want to be there for? I have four kids, and that comes to mind right away, not to mention the experiences of experiencing that with my wife in a church community, in a school community, all of those things that are meaningful to you, that have absolutely nothing to do with money. They're simply, most of the time, experiential. So I hope, after asking these questions and thinking through these questions, they strike a chord, because they did for me full transparency. Peter and I don't think even come from the same side of the theological aisle, but we agree that on a few things. And this framework is incredibly helpful, incredibly helpful. So, in summation, you know what would you do if money were not an option? How would you spend your time? How would you spend your time if time were constrained, if money were unlimited? First and foremost, how would you spend your time If time was constrained? How would you live your life differently? And then, if time was gone, if your hourglass ran out, what would you regret not doing and what would you regret not being there for? And the reason I love this framework is because it takes the emphasis off of money. It takes the emphasis off of mere financial wealth and focuses on what we believe. What we talk about around here is true wealth, ie those things money can't buy and death can't take away. At the end of the day, we're going to pass on our financial net worth to someone else, whether it be the tax man, whether it be our kids, our community. Fill in the blank, somebody else is going to take over it and, yes, we want to be diligent stewards of that. But, at the end of the day, I want clients to live lives of purpose, lives of joy, and I want their financial resources to be harnessed to that purpose in life, because that's what I believe my calling is is to help clients derive purpose and meaning from their financial resources. I hope this has been helpful for you. I hope that this helps give you a flavor of how we approach investment management, not to mention financial planning. We don't simply want to be slaves to numbers, and one of the things that I also want this to be informative in is, I think sometimes clients come to the financial planning desk and they say I don't want you to know a lot about me personally, I just want you to figure out how to get me cash flow. And in reality, they're not quite comfortable coming to the table in full transparency and saying, hey, this is what I really want. And I think it may be because it's a type of defense mechanism. They're afraid of being told no or feeling inadequate in that moment. But if you come to the table, fully transparent, if you come to the table saying hey, I'm going to go ahead and speak into existence the things that I would like to see different about my future, about my family, the ways in which I want to invest the time that I've been given and the ways in which I want our financial resources to support that time, that is going to submit itself in the back of my brain at every turn as we invest, going forward. And I'm going to like the questions that you ask. The things that you ask are going to drive me nuts until I can figure out a way to support them, and sometimes it's not even that financially unfeasible. We've just built up in our minds that, oh, that'll never happen. That's something that just doesn't apply to me and in all reality it actually does. So I think this is a good stopping point for now. But again, think through that framework. I think it's helpful. Bring it out, dust it off every year or so and ask yourself how is your perspective changed over time? Thank you again for your time. If I may ask, please like and rate the podcast. Does that helps us serve and reach additional listeners? And, as always, know that we're wishing you and your family continued truth, beauty and goodness on the road ahead. Have a great day.