I know that guilt and fear drive a lot of our choices in life. "I should go to this event." "I should give to this cause." "I should be in better shape." And... so we wonder why we don't enjoy those events. Why we resent those fundraisers or charitable causes. Why we feel like miserable physical failures. We've been "shoulded" on by others or even worse, "shoulded" on ourselves.
Truth is, I was weened on "shoulds." (Just ask my wife!) And I hate my own "shoulds" and yet I put them on others too... (starting with my own kids, ugh.. Sorry boys!) But also in my work as a coach and financial advisor, I've utilized plenty of "shoulds" advising people about their money. You really "should" save more for retirement. You "should" pay off that debt. You "should" have more insurance.
Guess what? "Shoulds" aren't very motivating... Most of us don't do what we "should" do just because we "should do it." I know I "should" eat less... and don't. I know I "should" exercise more... and I don't. I know I "should" save more and spend less... and don't. And, might ask me that simple and profound question: "SOOOOO, How's that workin for ya?" Not great.
And still, most of the "experts" share their great success stories and preach - Just do it! And many of us try, and fail, and try again, and fail again. Forget the "Life is good" shirt. Life stinks! Whether that be saving, giving, growing spiritually or not growing so much physically. Should is a lousy way to live.
So here's the paradigm shift. I actually saw it in an extremely wealthy man (like a fleet of Lear jets wealthy!) a few weeks ago.
MOVE FROM "SHOULD FUND" to FUND YOUR FUN.
Over dinner, I asked this man, "So, what do you plan to do with the rest of his life?" (OK, I know I have chutzpah! But, he didn't seem to mind engaging in my questions.) "Have fun!" he said with a big smile. I wasn't surprised since he was clearly a party animal type! So, "What does "fun" mean to you?" I asked.
His answer did surprise me. "My wife and I get to feed "thousands"* of people each day. We get to put "loads"*of kids who could never afford to go to school through all four years of college! Do you know how much fun that is??" he said with a twinkle in his eye. (He actually shared the specific numbers and they were QUITE large.)
Sure, I can imagine he spends more money than most of us will see in a few years on other "stuff." But, the fact is, he's recognized that his great "fun" is to put his money where his passion is. And he's passionate about helping the poor. About helping educate kids.
And that's the same for the rest of us. When you know what your fun is... and put your money behind that fun - you multiply that fun!! And life feels a whole lot more... well... fun!!!
Soooooo.... What if... instead of funding retirement... you were to discover and fund your dream(s)?
What if... instead of buying insurance... you were to fund a way to care for those you care most about if you weren't to make it to breakfast tomorrow?
What if... instead of giving out of guilt... you discovered what causes you were deeply passionate about and made a signficant difference in that area or cause?
What if... instead of investing money... you grew your money for an entrepreneurial venture or opportunity you would seek in the future? A travel adventure some day with our spouse? A home for others. The chance to live overseas and invest in them.... A chance to volunteer full time...
My belief is that when you intentionally combine passions with financial planning you get holistic and passion-driven financial planning that works. You fund your dream, not just come away feeling guilty for not executing another plan.
What's your fun? Would you want to fund it?
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