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Zen and the Art of Financial Planning

by | Financial Planning

“A resilient spirit, coupled with financial knowledge, is an unstoppable force.” (Anonymous)

There’s more to this material world than meets the eye. As human beings we are all trying to gain self-awareness and instinctively value compassion, empathy, and open heartedness.

You may ask, “How on earth does this have anything to do with financial planning?” The answer is “Everything!”

You may carefully follow your financial plan, adapt it when needed, enjoy your income and have enough to retire on. Better still, you may have created generational wealth for others. Yet, you could still feel unfulfilled along the journey.

The solution is self-development, incorporating spiritual or holistic financial planning into your self-development process. And we’re here to assist you.

Back in the day

We’re all familiar with the self-motivational theory of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, developed in 1943. He believed you could not self-actualise (and be a spiritual creature) by using your full social, intellectual, and creative potential and assisting others unless you’d satisfied your basic needs, including your safety and physiological needs. He believed that there’s a hierarchy in our self-development system.

So, let’s test this theory using an example in the real world. Your business becomes obsolete because of AI, and the expected capital from selling the company is no longer part of your retirement capital. Or, you lose your life partner prematurely and feel so empty that you cannot function productively for a period, which has a significant impact on your ability to continue to produce an income.

Do these major setbacks mean you need to start the self-development process again? We say no. There’s no need to slide down a ladder. We all experience significant losses throughout life, and despite the grief and real need for time out, we can continue to grow personally.

A better model?

In 2000, RM Ryan and EL Deci proposed an alternate model, Self Determination Theory, in which the three human needs are:

  1. The need for autonomy: the ability to choose what you do, stand behind what you do, and do what you find interesting or important.
  2. The need for competence: the need to feel adequate and capable and to become better at the activities that are important to us.
  3. The need for relatedness: the need to feel connected to others, to belong, to think that others care about you and to be able to mean something to others.

Importantly, this model does not have a hierarchy and does not require self-actualisation as an ultimate experience. It emphasises that autonomy and independence are more important than wealth for self-fulfillment. Furthermore, recent research by the University of Wellington in New Zealand found that autonomy and individualism were the best predictors of well-being.

Putting it into practice

Our financial process usually starts with a chat about money and crunching the numbers to ensure you invest enough for retirement throughout your career and mitigate risk using necessary insurance.

But as our relationship grows, here are some additional processes we like to follow:

  1. Values alignment: We encourage you to reflect on your core values and how they relate to money. It involves identifying what truthfully matters to you and ensuring your financial goals and actions align with those values.
  2. Purpose-driven goals: Rather than focusing solely on material objectives (such as buying a boat or retiring early), we emphasise setting goals that contribute to a sense of purpose and fulfilment. These goals may include supporting causes, nurturing relationships, or pursuing ongoing education.
  3. Mindfulness and intentionality: We help you consider the impact of your financial decisions on yourself, your loved ones, and the broader community.
  4. Contentment and gratitude: Rather than constantly striving for more stuff, we encourage contentment. This involves appreciating what you have, expressing gratitude, and finding joy in non-material aspects of life.

Remember that spiritual financial planning is deeply personal and varies from person to person. We’re committed to understanding you personally, being non-judgemental and encouraging action with the expectation of wonder. And all at your own pace.

Are financial planning and spirituality incongruous?

Hopefully, by now, you will appreciate that self-development and financial planning practices are not incongruous. A holistic or spiritual approach to the financial planning process assists you in coping with life’s ebbs and flows by providing a sense of meaning, purpose, and peace throughout your journey to financial freedom.

Call us for an appointment if your financial plan doesn’t reflect who you want to be.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your professional adviser for specific and detailed advice.

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